News April 2019

Witter talks Maxwell test, clearing air with Ricky , says Gavin not ready for Brook


By Michael J Jones

Tonight in Sheffield Travis Dickinson meets Danny McIntosh for the vacant English light-heavyweight title in the next phase of Channel Fiveís MaxiNutrition Knockout tournament. As well as that match will be the final fight in the quarter final stages when Matty Clarkson meets Lee Duncan.

While most of the nightís attention will be on those two bouts, former world champion Junior Witter features on the undercard in a six-rounder against Birminghamís Max Maxwell.

Having turned 40-years-old just two weeks ago, Witter is very much in the veteran stages of his impressive career as he makes his latest comeback on the Ponds Forge Arena bill.

Now 41-7-2 (22) and entering his 17th year as a pro fighter, Witter is coming off two successive distance defeats though the manner of the losses differ wildly. The Bradford switch hitterís British title defeat to Frankie Gavin in late 2012 was a clear unanimous decision defeat which nobody had any qualms about.

Fast-forward almost a year and the former WBC light-welterweight champion turned up in Germany to take on the 12-0 Timo Schwarzkopf but, after appearing to dominant all ten rounds, the majority points verdict shockingly went against him.

Livefight caught up with Junior yesterday to discuss his recent career and his bout with Maxwell and found him in a very positive mood ahead of fight night-

LF) You box Max Maxwell tomorrow night, he was a real handful a couple of year ago but seems to have gone through the motions recently; are you still treating it as a dangerous fight?

JW) Any guy that gets in with me now will be thinking ďI can say Iíve beaten a world championĒ so of course itís going to be dangerous. Itís at 11st as thatís the only weight heíd box at so heíll have the size and power still. He got KO of the year a few years ago (for his one-punch win over Brian Rose) and will still have that powerÖbut Iíll be showing him my power too. Itís important for me to not get careless and put him in his place.

LF) You are coming off two defeats in the last 18 months were you ever tempted to retire in that time?

JW) No Iíve never been away. After the Gavin fight I took a couple of months out as I was very disappointed with my performance. I worked out what went wrong and made some changes and made sure I could still box at the level I wanted to.

I trained hard through last year and boxed in Germany and, although I didnít get the win, I was happy with my performance and it reassured me I could still fight at a high level.

LF) What did you feel went wrong in the Gavin fight?

JW) I was in very good shape but I just couldnít perform on the night. I had some personal rubbish going on and there was just a few little things which affected me but like I said itís all sorted now and Iím ready to move forward from that.

LF) Iíve not seen the fight you had in Germany but I hear the decision was pretty bad?

JW) You know what it was almost laughable how bad (the decision) was. I know what they say about boxing in Germany but even so it was ridiculous. As I said though, it wasnít really a true loss and I was happy overall with my performance.

LF) Last year a picture spread like wild-fire on the net of you and old rival Ricky Hatton together at his gym in Manchester. How did that get arranged for you to go there and spar his fighters?

JW) I canít remember who arranged it but I remember Dom and John (Ingle) asking if I wanted to go up there so I said ďyes Iíve got no problem going thereĒ so I went up to spar (Sergei) Rabchenko. I ended up sparring with him for quite a few weeks. Me and Ricky get on fine; I mean, weíre never going to be bosom buddies but we get on OK. I give him credit as heís turned into a very good trainer.

LF) So no awkward moments when you first walked into his gym?

JW) No none at all it was just funny more than anything. Heís got the banter and he was giving me stick but I was giving him it back. We both understand (back when the two were rivals) that it was just a business.

LF) You train alongside Kell Brook who faces IBF champion Shawn Porter next. Brook has been waiting patiently for his title shot a while now do you still see him fulfilling his potential at world level?

JW) Well weíll see in July wonít we? Heís got all of the potential to become champion and is in the right place and had the correct publicity. It all went wrong for him last year but thatís like any world champion. You tell me a world champion who didnít have problems at some stage. Kellís become more focussed in the last two years and if he can maintain that I donít see any reason why he canít become world champion.

LF) Some people in boxing are suggesting the gap between Brook and Frankie Gavin has closed considerably in the last year or so. How do you see a fight between the two unfolding having shared a ring with both?

JW) Itís a good fight for Kell to make him look good but not for Gavin as heís not ready for that kind of fight at this stage. I canít see it ever happening though unless Brook wins the world title and Gavin gets himself in position to fight for it.

LF) I was looking through your record again earlier; your only loss in your first eleven years was a decision to Zab Judah, then your second a split to Tim Bradley. In between you reigned as WBC champion and at one stage knocked out 15 opponents straight. Do you ever feel angry that you were never really given the credit for your achievements?

JW) It did bother me at the time but not now. Itís like in life you can either dwell on things and become bitter and twisted or get over it and move on. Iíve had a good career and am a happy person. At my home Iíve got a Lonsdale belt hanging up, the WBC beltÖIíve had a successful career and I know what Iíve achieved. Iím in good health, still training and am happy so itís all good.

LF) Is there anything you would like to add before we conclude?

JW) Just that Iím back and Iím coming for the titles and I donít care who has them Iím coming for them.

Travis Dickinson vs Danny McIntosh is this Saturday on Channel Five from 9.30pm. Also on the bill is the final quarter final match between Matty Clarkson and Lee Duncan as well as tasty support from Kid Galahad, Hughie Fury and former world champion Junior Witter.

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