By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s Weekend Boxing Showcase
NEW YORK — WBC junior welterweight champion Junior Witter (36-1-2, 21 KOs) headlines another edition of “ShoBox: The New Generation” when he defends his title against undefeated, No. 1-ranked challenger Timothy Bradley (21-0, 11 KOs) at the Nottingham Arena, in Nottinghamshire, U.K.
Witter-Bradley will be televised live on Saturday on Showtime beginning at 10:45 p.m. ET.
Witter, a 34 year-old, Yorkshire, U.K. native, will be fighting on his home turf. A victory against Bradley, 24, of Palim Springs, Ca., would move Witter closer toward a highly anticipated showdown with the immensely popular Ricky Hatton.
Witter, however, says he’s focused and that he’s not looking past Bradley.
“It’s another dangerous fight.” Witter said during a recent conference call. “It’s not the biggest. It’s not going to be the last. I’m going to remain champion. That’s what I’ve got to do.”
Witter’s hunger for victory must match that of his younger opponent. Bradley is coming to fight and is anxious to become a world champion.
“This is the fight of my career,” Bradley said. “This is the big stage, man. It doesn’t get any higher than this. I am taking it as an opportunity. I thank Junior Witter and Mick Hennessy for putting this show on. It’s exciting for boxing, and it’s exciting for me. It’s going to be a great fight.”
Bradley has fought exclusively out of home state of California. In fact, the Witter fight will be his first outside of California – let alone the United States – and it’s for a world championship fight. Bradley has embraced the role of being the underdog and is looking forward to the challenge.
The pressure is on.
“I don’t feel any kind of pressure,” Bradley added. “I really don’t get into all the odds and stuff like that and listen to all that stuff. I pretty much think positively the whole time. I am on Witter’s home soil. I’m definitely not going to be the favorite. So, I expected that. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
If Bradley is unsuccessful on Saturday, it could be a long time before he receives another world title shot. Just ask Witter how long it took him to receive a second opportunity before winning his first world title two years ago.
Witter had to wait more than six years following his 12-round decision loss to Zab Judah before he could fight again for a world championship.
“The politics of boxing is scary” Witter said. “That’s why it took so long. No one wanted to give me a shot after Judah. They realized that I was good. They were managing to find a way to avoid that. But, I went on to win the European International title, and I did everything I had to do. I took the long road because it was the only road that was really left for me and it’s just gone that way.”
Witter captured the WBC 140-pound title when he outpointed DeMarcus Corley through 12-rounds in September 2006. Witter has made two successful defenses since, including a seventh round KO of former WBA champion, Vivian Harris (KO 7) in September.
Following the Harris fight, Witter has surgery on his knee which Witter said he injured in preparation. Witter, although he hasn’t fought in nearly eight months, says that he’ll be ready on Saturday.
“I injured my knee about six weeks before I boxed Vivian Harris,” Witter said. “Surgery was the week after. I’m fine now. I have not had a problem with it.”