|Another Witherspoon fight for Philly fans!
Interview By Ken Hissner (April 15, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
As former two time heavyweight champion ‘Terrible’ Tim Witherspoon’s career winded down in 2003 another Witherspoon came on the scene in 2004. Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Chazz ‘Gentleman’ Witherspoon has won all of his 22 bouts, 15 by knockout.
Graduating from Paulsboro High School in 1999 with a 3.8 GPA, and offers from division one schools for basketball and track, Witherspoon chose to accept an academic scholarship from
St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. In May of 2005 he graduated with a Degree in Pharmaceutical Marketing. Being a cousin to the famous former champion, he needed a sporting challenge and took up boxing in April of 2002. It all started at Joe Hand’s gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of brothers Wade and Randy Hinnant.
Witherspoon’s rise in the amateurs was like a sky rocket. He took the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves in 2003. He took 2nd place in the 2004 US Championships which qualified him for the Olympic Trials. He became an alternate and earned a trip to Athens. Upon returning he once again won the state title and added the National Golden Gloves title to that. He became the first person, in the history of the tournament to win all his bouts by stoppage. In compiling a 26-6 record he faced such amateur standouts as Devin Vargas, Matt Godfrey (4 times) and Carlos Barnett.
I had the pleasure of walking into Shuler’s Gym in North Philly to see Witherspoon sparring with current IBF cruiserweight champion Steve
Cunningham. The champ was one of several he has sparred with in the past which includes Wladimir Klitschko, Eddie Chambers and Klitschko’s next opponent Tony Thompson. Eric Witherspoon, father of Chazz, took the time along with his son to share some of the highlights of the professional ranks so far. Next up will be Wednesday at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom with Domonic Jenkins, airing on ESPN2.
In December of 2004 Witherspoon turned pro stopping James Daniels in 1:53 of the 1st round in the nation’s capitol. In his 6th bout a substitute named Marion ‘Iron Jaw’ Wilson would be his opponent. He was a veteran of 55 fights who had only been stopped once and had gone the distance with boxing’s whose who such as WBC champ Samuel Peter, Oleg Maskaev, Hasim Rahman, Ike Ibeabuchi, Greg Page, Oliver McCall, Tony Thompson, Larry Donald and Andrew Golota to name a few. Witherspoon shut him out in a bout reduced from a 6 to a 4 rounder with Wilson holding on for dear life with 10 seconds to go in the fight. The punching power of Witherspoon had been established in this fight. “I had him hurt with his knees buckling. If it had been a 6 rounder I would have stopped him in the 5th,” said Witherspoon.
In April of 2006 Witherspoon made his legendary Blue Horizon debut defeating always tough David Polk. “Polk was a tough fight. He showed angles and was in top shape,” said Witherspoon. He shut Polk out on two of the three judge’s scorecards.
In his 13th bout on ShoBox he defeated the previously unbeaten Michael Alexander. It was the best fight of the night on a show spotlighting future stars. The country saw in Witherspoon a fighter in top condition physically and mentally. He just keeps on coming with defensive skills and a punch that most people in boxing feel will lead him to that championship fight in the near future. “Alexander was a fighter with good moves,” said Witherspoon. His 15th bout would be under the promotional debut of his cousin Tim at the Philly National Guard Armory, where he stopped Earl Ladson in 3 rounds.
Charles Davis brought in a list of past opponents that few fighters would dare fight. He had a 10 bout win streak stopped when he fought seven fighters, including Witherspoon. Five were unbeaten and an opposition’s record of 128-3-5. Only one fighter stopped Davis and that was Witherspoon in 7 rounds in April of 2007 at the Blue Horizon. “Chazz ran down on him,” said the elder Witherspoon. In just his second 10 rounder Witherspoon would encounter Talmadge Griffis who was coming off two 1st round knockout wins after getting into the 10th with David Tua. “Chazz was just too strong for him,” said the elder Witherspoon.
In January of 2008, Texan Kendrick Releford was brought into Atlantic City for Witherspoon. Not telling anyone, the young prospect was quite sick before the fight. What made it harder was it went the entire route. “This was my toughest fight,” said Witherspoon. In his next and last fight southpaw Jonathan Haggler (18-1) came into Sewell, New Jersey, the neighborhood Witherspoon grew up near. The vocal fans were quieted through the first two rounds as Haggler came in throwing punches in bunches. Witherspoon blocked most of these but was definitely on the defense. “I had no idea who this opponent was having never seen tapes on him. By the third round I had him figured out and started to open up,” said Witherspoon. The crowd went wild for the returning hometown fighter. By the next round Haggler was a punching bag. The referee had no choice but to stop it in that the 4th round.
There have been offers per the elder Witherspoon to Gold Medalist and top contender Alexander Povetkin of Russia. He is the recent conqueror of Chambers in an elimination bout. “Unbeaten Chris Arreola (23-0) is another who turned Chazz down. We even thought we had former champ James Toney, but he had another fight signed. We would love that one,” said the elder Witherspoon.
On Sunday February 19th, 2006, Witherspoon became the proud father of a baby boy, King Witherspoon, named in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Messiah was born January 4th, 2007 and Czar was born October 22nd, 2007. They will attend the 1st Baptist Church-Jericho church in Deptford, New Jersey, where their Christian father will help guide their young lives. “I would like readers to know that I am a very grounded individual, both in family and in the Lord. Every time I fight I pray that “no one gets hurt and that the Lord’s Will be done.” He added, “I trust the Lord Jesus Christ in all His infinite wisdom and if in His perfect Will He has for me to win or lose, I will be OK with either outcome.”
His father added, “his music going into the ring is ‘Second Chance’.” Possibly this is prophetic for a second Witherspoon to hold the heavyweight championship!
e-mail Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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