DoghouseBoxing catches up Junior Witter
Interview by Adam Williamson (November 8, 2004)
Junior Witter like many of Britain’s leading boxers has struggled to land the ‘big’, ‘defining’ fight this year. Many claim they have been avoided, and for all I know that could be the case, but I remain cynical most of the time and wonder if that truly be the case.
Witter is one of the few I genuinely feel sorry for. Perhaps this is because it is clear to see why someone would avoid him. He isn’t a big name, he’s awkward and to put it nicely, the American TV networks aren’t his biggest fans. Unfairly perhaps he is judged on one performance. Going 12 rounds with Zab Judah would be a feather in the cap for many a young, relatively inexperienced boxer - especially on such short notice. But throwing circumstances and recent spectacular displays out of the window, American TV turns off at the thought of Witter. Why fight Witter when you can take as much or more money taking on someone less dangerous?
Witter has had to do things the hard way - force the opportunity. And in the last year he has certainly done that. He finds himself at #3 in the WBC ‘Superlightweight’ ratings as a result of winning the European title and some hard work from promoter Mick Hennessy. He makes the first defence of this title next Friday. Frustratingly he faces another opponent that has me scouring boxrec for more information. Witter however remains professional and optimistic in the belief that his time will eventually come, and soon as well. He feels that a fight with Floyd Mayweather is a serious possibility, and predicts that he will become world champion in 2005.
Read on to find out Junior’s views on his upcoming title defence, Floyd Mayweather and much more!
Adam Williamson: Hey Junior, how are you?
Junior Witter: I’m good.
AW: Preparations going well for next Friday?
JW: Everything is on track, there are no problems. Yeah I’m feeling good.
AW: You defend your European title against Krzysztof Bienias of Poland. What do you know about him?
JW: I’ve seen his record, I know he’s boxed (Oktay) Urkal and lost on points. Seen a video of him, he’s tall, European style boxer upright, works off his jab. He’s a very standard, decent boxer. What he does, he does well but he’s not going to give me any real problems.
AW: Do you see this as being a distance fight? From the sounds of things he isn’t going to stand in front of you.
JW: No he isn’t. From what I’ve seen of him, I am going to have to hunt him down, cut the ring off. It’s just one of those things you have to do. It may go a few more rounds.
AW: Is he one of those that will be hard to look good against? Is he going to try and spoil your work?
JW: Nah, he looks quite up for it. Last time when he boxed Urkal it was a big step up for him, and I think this time he’ll be more comfortable about doing the distance. He may go for it more, and his work rate may be a little higher than it was last time. When you aren’t used to doing 12 rounds you tend to hold back a little more.
AW: Do you struggle to get up for a fight like this? You’ve had bouts like this in the past when you’ve fought ‘unknowns’, with all due respect.
JW: To an extent it doesn’t have the same feel about it. It is harder. But I do realise that anybody can beat anybody on any given night.
AW: I see this week you have been calling out Floyd Mayweather. Is that out of hope, or do you see it as a realistic possibility?
JW: It’s very realistic. If the Gatti fight doesn’t happen, Mayweather needs a fight.
AW: He’s regarded by many as pound for pound the best, do you go along with that?
JW: I understand that. You’ve got to rate him because he’s tricky, slick and quick he’s a great fighter. Pound for pound? He could be. As long as he performs like he has done, at light welterweight he could be. But he’s got to beat me.
AW: You have developed a more aggressive style over the last few years. You’ve looked spectacular in your recent outings, will the style be so effective when you do finally step up? Or will you go back to your ‘old’ style?
JW: I box for the fight that is in front of me. I am more aggressive now, that’s just the way I am. When I step up in class to fight the best, there will be no difference with me. I’ll get away with what I can get away with.
AW: I was hoping to leave his name out of the interview, but say for instance you were to fight Ricky Hatton, you wouldn’t go toe to toe with him would you?
JW: When I hit somebody, no one wants to stand toe to toe with me. I know how I’d box him. It wouldn’t be a case of me running, but at the same time I’m not going to go toe to toe with him. I don’t do that anyway. I’m not a brawler, I’m a sensible thinking boxer who hits extremely hard!
AW: American TV has often dismissed you because of your defensive performance against Zab Judah. You’ve said you have gained great experience from that fight. Looking back are you better off as a whole for taking that fight? Or would you rather it didn’t happen?
JW: It still made me. I can’t take it away, and I wouldn’t want to. Yeah I’d like to change some things about it, like the result [laughs].
I boxed the right fight for the night. I learnt so much from it that I wouldn’t take it away. Without that fight I wouldn’t have learnt what I learnt.
AW: How have you seen 2004 as a year for you up to this point?
JW: It’s been a year where I’ve had good performances, but not enough of them, and it’s been really frustrating in that way.
AW: Then again, you’ve won the European title…
JW: Yeah, I’ve won the European, been ranked #3 by the WBC, #4 by the WBO. On the political side of boxing, it just flourished. That side of it is going well, but the fight side of it has been slow.
AW: What do you HOPE will happen in 2005…and what do you THINK will happen?
JW: What I hope to happen is to win the WBC title. And I see it happening.
AW: Despite the lack of big fights you never fail to remain optimistic do you?
JW: With this game you have to remain optimistic. There are too many things in this game that can break you. I’ve had to deal with a lot of it, and I know when I do get my chance, I’ll take it.
AW: You are in a lot better position now than you were a year ago…
JW: My shot is coming next year, and when I get my shot I will grab it with both hands.
Doghouse Boxing would like to thank Junior Witter for taking his time to do this interview and wish ‘The Hitter’ the best of luck for the future.
‘Born To Do It’ takes place at the Wembley Conference Centre on Friday November 12th. A full bill is available at www.HennessySports.com. Tickets are available on 0870 060 0870.
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