Express & Star

Darlaston's Ben Whittaker eyeing the first title of his career

Ben Whittaker vowed to “make an example” of Ezra Arenyeka when he targets the first title of his professional boxing career next month.


The Darlaston Olympic hero, unbeaten in his first seven pro bouts, will meet Arenyeka at London’s Selhurst Park on June 15 with the WBA gold light-heavyweight belt up for grabs. Arenyeka, who holds an unblemished 12-fight record, made headlines when he gatecrashed a press conference ahead of Whittaker’s fight with Leon Willings last month, publicly calling out the Tokyo 2020 silver medallist.

The 28-year-old, born in Nigeria but now based in Sale, has been granted his wish and Whittaker is out to prove he has bitten off more than he can chew.

“I’m going to make an example of him on June 15,” he said during a press conference yesterday announcing the fight. “I am not going to have people running up in these press conferences and getting these fights, so this will be the last one.

“Keep the same energy June 15. I have not take any of my opponents till now seriously and that is no disrespect. But this kid, I will take him 10 per cent serious. That is all I need, 10 per cent.”

When Arenyeka tried to respond, Whittaker replied: “You have a rubix cube head and your body is built like a beanbag!”

Arenyeka later chided Whittaker over the showboating which has brought the Midlands fighter both attention and criticism.

He said: “Every good boxer with rhythm can showboat. In my amateur days I used to showboat a lot, but I stopped for a reason, because I’ve grown as a fighter.”