Junior Witter Interview -
Junior Talks Prizefighter, Lynes, El Maachi Plus More
By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Last week I was fortunate enough to catch up with one of the
UKís most decorated Champions - former multi British,
Commonwealth, European Union, European, WBF, WBU and WBC
Light Welterweight Champion - Junior Witter at the
Prizefighter-Welterweights II promo shoot at the Sky
Television Studios in Osterley.
This Tuesday night Junior will be back in action at the
aforementioned Prizefighter - Welterweights II along with
former foe, European and IBO World Champion Colin Lynes,
former British Champion Kevin McIntyre, current
International Master Champion Yassine El Maachi, former
European title challenger Peter McDonagh, former British
Masters title challenger Nathan Graham and unbeaten
prospects John Wayne Hibbert and Bobby Gladman.
Iím sure that Junior doesnít need any introduction to any
boxing fan anywhere in the World, as heís fought nearly
every big name out there at Light Welter, but here is his
brief(ish) championship bio.
His first title came on his thirteenth professional outing,
unlike most it wasnít a domestic area title, no not Junior
he went straight in for a World title, the WBF version, and
won it. His victim, sorry his opponent, nah I was right the
first time, was former British and Commonwealth title
challenger Malcolm Melvin. The fight lasted just four
minutes and thirty three seconds before Junior knocked out
Melvin to claim his first pro championship title.
Just over a year later Junior stepped up to the plate and
challenged Zab ĎSuperí Judah for his IBF title, on the
undercard of Mike Tyson versus Lou Savarese.
Junior received the call, to face Judah, with just nine days
notice but still took the fight. It was a cracking fight but
Juniorís lack of time to prepare came into play and after
twelve hard fought rounds all the judges cards read in
favour of the Champion.
This, his first loss, caused Junior to take a long hard look
at his future, in doing so Junior and his team decided to to
change tack and target another World title shot, but via the
more traditional route, via Domestic and European titles.
Six fights after the loss to Zab Judah see Junior make his
first challenge for a domestic title, the vacant British
Light Welterweight belt against Alan Bosworth. Having enough
time to prepare for the fight showed as Junior cruised to an
early victory, having stopped Bosworth in the forty fifth
second of the third round.
Juniorís very next fight see him add the Commonwealth belt
to his collection, following the second round stoppage of
Ghanaian Champion Laatekwei Hammond.
Two second round stoppages followed, the first over Lucky
Sambo in a non-championship bout and then over Giuseppe
Lauri in a WBO title eliminator, before Junior challenged,
and beat, Juergen Haeck for the European Union crown.
Another couple of non-championship fights followed, against
Fred Kinuthia and Oscar Hall - both wins for Junior by
stoppage finishes, before Junior challenged Salvatore
Battaglia for the vacant European title. No surprise here
Junior lifted the belt with a second round stoppage finish.
Yet another second round stoppage victory, over Krzysztof
Bienas, followed on Juniorís first defense of the European
Juniorís first fight of 2005 see him not only successfully
defend his Commonwealth title, against Lovemore Nídou, but
in doing s also win the WBC World Light Welterweight Title
His second fight of the year see him successfully defend his
European crown against Andriy Kotelnik. Which set him up
nicely for his final fight of the year against fellow
Prizefighter - Welterweights II competitor Colin Lynes.
Domestically this was a massive fight with Juniorís British,
Commonwealth and European titles all on the line. Junior
came through in flying colours to retain the titles by
unanimous points decision - 117-112, 116-112 and 115-114.
It was almost a year before Junior was back in action, and
having cleaned up the domestic scene his eyes were firmly on
a major World title. On the 15th September 2006 at Alexandra
Palace in London Junior took on Washington DCís former WBO
Light Welterweight World Champion DeMarcus Corley for the
vacant WBC World title.
Junior plain bedazzled and frustrated Corley throughout
twelve tension filled rounds, after which the judges
scorecards read 118-112, 117-111 and 116-114 all in favour
of the British star.
2007 see Junior convincingly defend his crown twice, the
first time against WBO Inter-Continental champion Arturo
Morua ended with a ninth round stoppage. Hs second defense
see him finish former WBA World champion Vivian Harris with
a spectacular seventh round knockout.
For his third defense Junior came face to face with the
formidable Timothy Bradley - the current unified WBC & WBO
Champion. Junior fought with the heart of a Tiger but
Bradley proved too good for him. Junior survived a scare in
the sixth round, after a massive overhand right sent him to
the canvas, to lose by a close 112-115, 114-113 and 115-113
Six months later Junior was in action at York Hall, where he
will be again on Tuesday night for Prizefighter -
Welterweights II, for a non-championship ten rounder against
former Argentinean Champion Victor Hugo Castro. Yet another
early short day in the office for Junior as after just one
minute and ten seconds into the third round he sent Castro
to the canvas for the second and final time.
Nine months later Junior was back on the Championship trail,
this time it was Saint Louis, USAís then unbeaten star Devon
Alexander in the opposing corner. It was a seriously tough
test, but one Junior was more than capable of undertaking.
Unfortunately the fight was cut short when Junior was forced
to retire on the stall at the end of the eighth due to a
serious injury to his left hand.
It would be eighteen long months before Junior returned to
the ring, and his final title challenge to date. In February
this year Junior winged his way across the Atlantic to face
Canadian Champion Victor Lupo Puiu, for the WBC
International Silver Welterweight Title, at the Hershey
Centre in Ontario, Canada.
Witterís Welterweight debut didnít quite go to plan, as at
the end of the ten round championship bout the judges
scorecards read 95-94, 97-91 and 96-93 in favour of the
Romanian born Canadian.
So there you have it, weíre bang up to date, well sort of.
Junior has been drawn to face Nathan Graham in the first
round of Prizefighter - Welterweights II on Tuesday night.
OK so now we are up to date, so without further ado I am
proud to present a Prizefighter Q&A with Junior Witter.
Rio - Thank you for talking with me today. My first question
is what are your thoughts on the Prizefighter series?
Junior - Itís an interesting idea, itís good, tests you.
Itís a completely different game to a normal boxing title
It brings the less talented on to a more level playing field
with the talented, especially when you are talking about
fighters like me who use skill, timing., accuracy, that sort
of boxer, it takes it away from them and gives it to the
less skillful fighters.
At the same time if you are quick, accurate, sharp and
powerful youíve got that power to make it all good.
Rio - The Prizefighter format is a maximum of three three
round fights in quick succession, six of your last seven
fights were twelve round World title fights and fifteen of
your last seventeen fights were title fights, a mix of
commonwealth, European and World titles. How do you see
yourself making the transition to three rounders?
Junior - Itís not going to be a problem, because the way
Iíve trained for it. With sparring the way Dom (Dominic
Ingle) pushed me. Sparring Iíve had Kell Brook, Kid
Gallahad, all the other names. It works, weíve done short,
sharp, fast and theyíve hammered me.
Itís just the way I train in the gym, hammer people and they
hammer you. The idea is not to get beat so with that Iíll be
OK, itíll all be good.
Rio - Youíre still right up there at the top and used to
competing for titles. It seems that the winner Prizefighter
gets a title shot shortly after, did that influence your
decision to take part?
Junior - I wanted to do it anyway. Iíve always wanted to do
it since I first heard about it because I like fighting, I
like boxing, I like the action and itís three fights in one
I can remember back in the amateurs fighting two fights in
one night. Yeah itís hard work and itís pressure. I enjoy
that and thatís what itís going to do for me so yeah I
Iíll get another title fight after this one, most
Rio - OK, now onto your thoughts on the other fighters in
the competition, firstly an old foe Colin Lynes.
Junior - Heís done well for himself, been up, been down.
Heís a good fighter, heís a little bit awkward but on a bad
night myself he couldnít beat me in a twelve rounder but in
three rounds, well.
Iíve got no worries about him myself, Iím not worried about
any of the fighters because you canít concentrate on any
particular fight because you donít know who you are going to
get. Up to now all Iíve done is concentrate on myself, which
is what I like doing anyway.
Rio - Another former Champion is next, Kevin McIntyre,
whatís your thoughts on him?
Junior - He was British Champion, out of all them the last
fighter I see was Kevin McIntyre and that was against Kell
Brook and he struggled with the power and you all know how
hard I can hit, Iíve got no worries.
Rio - OK, weíll move onto Yassine El Maachi then.
Junior - What, heís got a big mouth. He has heís got a big
mouth, he thinks heís the beeís knees. I mean the difference
is I know what I know, Iím not thinking, Iím not saying one
day Iím going to be there, I am there, been there and Iíll
be back on top again so who you name out of all of them Iím
not bothered, Iím not worried about any of them.
Rio - Next up is someone you know well, Nathan Graham,
whatís your thoughts on him?
Junior - Thatís right. He looks in good shape, he boxed one
of my friends, he beat him.
Heís awkward but heís a completely different fighter to me
so him beating him didnít mean anything. If I get him Iíll
just take it as it comes.
Rio - OK, your thoughts on Peter McDonagh?
Junior - Heís been around, heís been out speeded before.
Heís a good fighter but he hasnít boxed anyone with my
speed, my size and my accuracy.
Forget the power yeah heíd been outworked before because
they were to fast for him. Iím faster.
Rio - John Wayne Hibbertís next, your thoughts on him?
Junior - Decent enough fighter but heís never really been
Rio - Last but not least your thoughts on Bobby Gladman
Junior - I donít know much about him other than heís
Rio - Thank you so much for talking to me today, is there
anything else you would like to add.
Junior - Iím not disrespecting anybody in it because
everyone thatís in it it is in it because theyíve done
something and itís giving them a chance.
Everybody has a chance but I know what Iíve got, the best
chance and all Iím going to do is concentrate on being the
best I can and win on the night.
Prizefighter - Welterweights II, featuring Junior Witter,
Yassine El Maachi, Colin Lynes, Kevin McIntyre, John Wayne
Hibbert, Bobby Gladman, Nathan Graham and Peter McDonagh,
takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday
7th June 2011.