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Ben Whittaker admits he knows 'when and when not' to turn on antics as he prepares for latest test

Ben Whittaker revealed he missed his grandmother’s funeral in the lead up to Tokyo 2020 and feels his sacrifices are paying off ahead of his light-heavyweight clash with Leon Willings.

The 26-year-old, who continued his unbeaten start to his professional career with a stylish victory over Khalid Graidia in February, returns to action on the undercard of Fabio Wardley v Frazer Clarke at the O2 on Sunday.

Ahead of his seventh professional bout, Olympic silver medallist Whittaker revealed some of the difficult choices he has had to make in his life away from the spotlight.

“Not many people have seen the sacrifices I’ve made,” said Whittaker.

“The little things like when I ran before school, my dad would wake me up in the morning for swimming.

“Even more recently leading up to the Olympics I had to miss my grandmother’s funeral and not a lot of people see that. It’s a sacrifice and it’s paying off.”

Whittaker has amassed over 1 million Instagram followers after his showboating antics last time out gained the attention of supporters.

He reiterated that despite wanting to entertain, he is looking to “win by any means” this weekend.

“I’m professional so I know when and when not to do it and at the end of the day a win is all that matters,” Whittaker added.

“If I start hopping on one leg, doing flips and I lose, the fans will be entertained. You’ve got to win and that’s what I’ll do. Anything else is a bonus.

“I predict a win. A win by any means.”

The undefeated Whittaker faces Widnes fighter Willings, who has a 7-1 career record, in what will be his second fight of 2024.

The Midlands man believes his ability will be too much for his opponent in London.

“I’m as confident as ever,” he said.

“He’s young and hungry and he’s got a winning mentality but I believe I’m just levels above and that will show on Sunday.

“If you don’t have confidence in this game there’s no point being in it because it’s a dangerous sport. I get my confidence from the work I put in and I make it look so easy because I train two to three times a day and cut no corners.

“I’m better than him in all compartments.”

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