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Rival trainer issues warning to Ben Whittaker ahead of fight

Rival trainer issues warning to Ben Whittaker ahead of fightJames Chance/Getty Images
The showboater is attracting attention.

Ezra Arenyeka’s trainer Anthony Farrell has warned Ben Whittaker that he will have to be on his game to avoid defeat next week.

The two go head to head next Saturday, on the Chris Billam-Smith vs. Richard Riakporhe undercard (live on Peacock in the US).

The light heavyweights have built up a rivalry in recent weeks, with the showboating Whittaker attracting plenty of attention over the last couple of years since turning professional.

Arenyeka is something of a step up for the Briton, and Farnell told BoxingScene that his man had been working hard in the gym.

“This is our first fight together but in training, he’s done absolutely everything I’ve said,” he said. “When he’s been sparring, every time I’ve told him to move and box he’s done it, even when he wanted to stand and fight. He’s done absolutely everything I’ve said. I can’t take anything from him. He’s been really good in training.

“He’s unpredictable. He’s very, very strong and very tough. Say you’re sparring a world class fighter, you pretty much know what they’re going to throw. Then you’ll spar a journeyman and they’ll catch you with some weird shot because you’re not used to it. Ezra’s a bit like that. He’s not had a long amateur career like Ben but he’s got that hunger and will to win. If he can get through the first three rounds unscathed, he’s got a good chance.

“As long as he sticks to the plan and the occasion doesn’t get to him – which I don’t think it will – he's got a chance and it’s a chance where he can make his name worldwide. Ben is world class and probably the best prospect in world boxing. If Ezra can beat him, he becomes one of the biggest prospects in world boxing. It turns everything on its head.”

While Farnell acknowledged Whittaker’s talent, he thinks Arenyeka has a chance.

“Ben’s one of the best prospects in the world. I think he’s a brilliant fighter, but if he’s not 110 per cent, Ezra can drag him into a very, very hard fight,” he warned.

“I think we can take a lot from what Leon Willings did. If you straight away run at Ben, he’s got those great amateur skills where he can pick you apart but if you can box him a little bit – like Willings did – you can get to him and you can catch him.”

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