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Darlaston's Ben Whittaker wins pro debut backed by Wolverhampton mayor

Darlaston Olympic silver medalist Ben Whittaker won his first professional fight - with the backing of the Mayor of Wolverhampton.

Ben Whittaker
Ben Whittaker

The boxer, who captivated the country during last year's Tokyo Olympics with his heroics in the ring and his jokes out of the ring, won his debut with a knock out in round two.

Showboating throughout, Whittaker delighted the crowd in Bournemouth and on Sky Sports on Saturday night by beating Greg O'Neill easily.

The 25-year-old has been training in Miami in recent months at the world renowned Kronk Gym and had the legendary SugarHill Steward in his corner.

Ben, who was given the honour of being Wolverhampton Mayor for the day on his return from Japan, was sent into the ring with encouragement from the real mayor, Councillor Sandra Samuels OBE.

The mayor sent a message of good luck to Ben before his professional debut.

She said: "You won our hearts last year. And on your return you have been visiting our schools telling them about your journey. You are a wonderful role model to young people in this city. You have shown through hard work and dedication you can rise to the top whatever your challenges.

"My theme for my mayoral year is Dare to Dream and you embody that completely. This weekend you take to the ring in your first professional fight and I wanted to wish you look from all your friends and family, and the city of Wolverhampton. Ben, go get 'em champ!"

Speaking in the ring after his win, Ben said: "That was sweeter than doughnut! I'm my own worst critic so the first round I wasn't the happiest, and I thought I'm going to have to hurt this boy.

"There was no nerves. The main thing is that I had a bit too much fun and I forgot the game plan. Came back, listened to my coach, and it's all she wrote."

Promoter Ben Shalom said about Ben: "He's the future of British boxing, he's a superstar."

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