Is Ben Whittaker A Future Star or A Complete Hype Job?
Light heavyweight Ben “The Surgeon” Whittaker (6-0, 5 KOs) has become one of the most talked-about folks in British boxing. It’s due to how the 26-year-old carries himself and applies his craft in the ring. It has fueled discussion about whether Whittaker is the real deal or if fool’s gold.
Whittaker is coming off a fourth-round stoppage over Khalid Gradia on February 3. Fighting on the undercard of Joshua Buatsi versus Dan Azeez, Whittaker stole the show and ended up with the highlight performance of the entire fight card.
EGOTISTICAL TO A FAULT?
Though he dominated Gradia, he did plenty of showboating along the way. His antics caused plenty of criticism from the local media, who labeled him arrogant. Speaking to the British news outlet talkSPORT, The Surgeon addressed his critics.
“This is sport, this is entertaining. I don’t belittle the opponent. I don’t swear about him and different things like that.
After the fight, I congratulate him. But when we’re in there, we both got a job to do. That’s my style; I get the job done.”
STYLE AND SUBSTANCE
In the ring, he reminds many of former unified featherweight champion Naseem Hamed. Like Hamed, Whittaker fights with his hands low and relies on his agility and flexibility to avoid shots. The heavy-handed Brit also has quick hands and feet.
His amateur pedigree is as impressive as any British fighter in recent memory, as he won a silver medal at the 2020 Olympic Games. In the pros, he sparred with Buatsi and Azeez – two fighters Whittaker has said he would beat if he ever fought them on the big stage.
The question now is: how far can he go? Whittaker was joined by his promoter, Ben Shalom, who feels his charge will become a world champion and is on a path to superstardom. As for the fighter himself, he said he plans to fulfill all the immense expectations.
“It’s all about progression. It’s all about making those fights happen. I’m still early in my career. But when I do get there, I’ll believe I’ll show that I’m the best.”
In truth, Whittaker is flashy and likes to put on a show. But close inspection of his record suggests there’s plenty of substance. Despite his cynics, it’s clear that Whitaker has as much natural ability as any prospect in the sport.