November 27, 2020

How criticism inspired Killa to greater things

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Charles “Killa” Whittaker

Charles Whittaker wanted to box before he could walk.

From as far back as he can remember, it was always his lifelong dream to fight – And fight for Cayman.

At school he was never a bully – but says he was not someone people could easily push around.

Next year he’ll get his long awaited shot at the world title after he jumped to number two in the world following victory in Miami last month.

At 37-years-old Whittaker says many of his critics thought he was too old to fulfill his dream and The Killa from West Bay admits it was always at the back of his mind to throw in the towel and call it a day.

Thankfully that never happened.

Instead of letting it get to him, the junior middleweight just took the mental blows firmly on the chin – and he used the criticism as the foundations to build his career higher and higher.

After meetings with legendary promoter Don King and Premier McKeeva Bush, there is a possibility his title fight could take place on home soil – a dream come true for Whittaker. But it wasn’t always such a smooth ride.

Whittaker cites the movie Cinderella Man as a comparison to his own life as he struggled to make it as a boxer in the early days.

The 2005 film starring Russell Crowe tells the true story of James Braddock, a supposedly washed up fighter who became champion during the great depression of the 1930s.

“It’s been a long journey and I’ve seen some amazing times in the 17 years I’ve been a professional.

Russell Crowe (left) as James Braddock in Cinderella Man

“I look at the movie Cinderella Man and I can see similarities from the time I was in America training and I would work for $50 a day and that was big to me.

“I can remember getting ready in the dressing room for a fight in 1989 and I was so hungry. I’d not had anything to eat all day, I had no money and I said to my agent ‘I’ve had nothing to eat man’ go and get me something. And he had to go across the street to get me something to eat before I fought.

“I wasn’t assisted on a monthly basis by the government. I had to jump through hoops just to get $5,000 for a whole year.

“It absolutely crossed my mind at that time to give up. But you have to look at the realities. Give up and do what?

“Also people like to look at the successes of individuals but I like to look at the struggles of individuals.

“I like to look at how a man got to where he’s at. I like to go back to the beginning and talk about what they have been through and see how they got to where they are.

“I look at the Jay-Z story. You know a guy told Jay-Z ‘Nobody’s gonna buy your stuff man’ and he could have accepted what these people said as the Gospel truth and gave up.

“I realised it would be difficult and nobody would take me seriously for a while. I would tell people I was from the Cayman Islands and they would just think that was the place where all the banks were at.

“I come from a country where there is no boxing history. I come from a country where the people here doubted me, 99% of them, people overseas doubted me because they hadn’t even heard of the Cayman Islands and people would say that I couldn’t even buy a world title.

“All I could do when people said these things to me was laugh and I would answer them by going out and doing.”

Read more from Charles Whittaker in iNews Cayman next week.

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