Ben Whittaker Profile
|Born||Jun 06, 1997|
|Birthplace||West Bromwich, England|
|Division||Light Heavyweight Limit: 175 Pounds|
A close friend of Anthony Joshua, Ben Whittaker won a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Fighting out of the Firewalker ABC Gym, Whittaker, 24, qualified for the GB boxing team after winning two qualifying bouts.
Whittaker missed out on a qualifying gold medal due to withdrawing from it against Cuban-born Loren Alfonso Dominguez.
Nursing some minor injuries, the Black Country fighter will instead focued his quest for a Tokyo Gold in the 75 to 81kg division.
And he came up just short, losing to Cuba's Arlen Lopez, who became a back-to-back Olympic champion.
Whittaker caught the eye at the delayed summer games in Tokoyo, but not just for his fights. He had his eye on the gold medal, which was possible as he reached the final of the competition.
The Brit beat Jorge Vivas and Abdelrahman Oraby in the early rounds. He then got the better of Brazil's Ken Machado in the quarter-finals and Russia's Imam Khataev in the semi-finals.
That set him up for a final showdown against Cuba's Arien Lopez in the final. Whittaker though came up short at the final hurdle, as Lopez won via split decision.
In the aftermath, Whittaker caused a stir as he refused to wear his silver medal at the ceremony. He claimed that he lost gold and that he saw his silver as a "failure".
He later apologised and said: "I was doing it for everybody at home and I felt like a failure.
"At the time, I should have put this beautiful silver medal round my neck and smiled because this is not just for me, it's for the country."
Following the postponement of the games in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, qualification for the boxing event was also subsequently delayed.
IOC Boxing Task Force's decision to restructure the Tokyo 2020 boxing qualifying path, the qualification event was subsequently held in Paris in June 2021.
The Darlaston-based prospect Whittaker entered the European qualification tournament as the number one seed at light heavyweight and required just two wins to guarantee his Olympic place.
Whittaker would first eliminate the hardy Romanian, Paul-Andrei Aradoaie, before a narrow split decision verdict against Croatia's Luka Plantic ensured the West Bromwich-born pugilist would have the chance to complete his dream in Tokyo.
However, the cherry on top of the cake would be denied for Whittaker, who, with his qualification secured, decided to pull out of the qualifying gold final against Dominguez - the man who had denied him a gold medal in the 2019 World Championships.
Following his silver medal at the 2019 European Games in Minks, Whittaker was selected to compete at the World Championships in Yekaterinburg, Russia, where he claimed a bronze medal after losing his semi-final to Dilshodbek Ruzmetov.
Whittaker, now ranked number three in the world at his amateur weight class, has been forced to kick his heels due to the ongoing pandemic, waiting over 15 months before being able to return to action in last month's European qualification tournament.
Having initially considered turning professional and sacrificing his Olympic dream, Whittaker is now ready for his shot at Olympic glory, and with it, a potentially lucrative professional career could be his for the taking.
Whittaker is close to heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, who he revealed asks him about his fighting style. "He's gonna go out there and do his thing, he's very experienced," Joshua said when speaking about his chances in Tokyo.
"It's just about the experience. The amateur system is like going to university or college, and then the pros is where you actually go to work.
"I feel like he's got so much experience now, he's got a great chance.
"Just do your best, that's all you can do Ben. Just do your best, have fun, it's a great time in your life, so just have fun. That's all you can do, that's all I can ask for."
Whittaker is believed to be worth around $1million.
Ben Whittaker News
- Aug 04, 2021
- Aug 03, 2021
- Jul 30, 2021
- Jul 25, 2021