Legendary trainer Brendan Ingle believes that British, Commonwealth and European light welterweight champion Junior Witter is still not at his prime, even though he is already every bit as good as his former charge Naseem Hamed.
Ingle said: “You have to remember that Naz was brilliant because he had a lot of time spent on him. We had him from the age of 7.
“But we have only been training Junior for about eight years now, since he was 22.
“He is already every bit as good as Naz was in every department. Can you imagine what he is going to like in 3 years time?
“People will say that Junior will be 33 then, but that means nothing, that will be his prime.
“Look at Kostya Tszyu, he is 35 and the best in the division. Look at the old timers like Jack Johnson and Sam Langford.
“Age doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You learn something new every day in this game. I still do and I have been in it for 60 years.”
Witter showed signs very early in his career that he had what it took to supersede the achievements of his famous gym mate.
“There was a time, just after Junior turned pro, that I had him body sparring Naz,” Ingle added. “It was for Naz’s fight with Kevin Kelley.
“I had them doing certain things and Naz started to get the hump with Junior because he was so tricky, so he punched him in the face accidentally on purpose if you know what I mean.”
Ingle even believes that Witter – who defends his European Title against Poland’s Krzysztof Bienias on the Hennessy Sports ‘Born To Do It’ promotion at the Wembley Conference Centre on Friday night (shown 1.10pm next day on BBC1) – is at least Naz’s equal for power.
He continued: “Junior hits every bit as hard as Naz did. In his last fight he lifted Salvatore Battaglia off of his feet; it was like he had been shot.
“We changed his style after he lost on points to Zab Judah for the IBF title in 2000, a fight he took only seven days notice.
“Imagine what he would have done with six weeks notice!
“But after that I said to Junior, we are going to turn you into an attacking counter puncher.
“Since that he has knocked out 14 in a row.
“Power is about timing, distance, co-ordination, mobility, flexibility, agility, accuracy, rhythm and dedication.
“Junior has worked hard on all of those. He is dedicated. He doesn’t drink, smoke or gamble.”
So how does Ingle believe that Junior’s determination will pay off? Clearly with genuine world titles.
Ingle finished: “Junior has got Mick Hennessy promoting him now and he needs to look to the big names in the division: Kostya Tszyu, Arturo Gatti, Floyd Mayweather, Vivian Harris and Miguel Cotto.
“Forget about Ricky Hatton. That fight isn’t going to happen. Hatton sells 12,000 tickets.
“Tszyu is obviously the best of the lot, but I have no doubt that with two months notice Junior would beat him.”
‘Born To Do It’ takes place at the Wembley Conference Centre on Friday November 12th. The headline contest sees Junior Witter defend his European light welterweight title against Poland’s Krzystof Bienias. Highlights are being shown on Saturday Grandstand at 1.10pm. A full bill is available at www.HennessySports.com
. Tickets are available on 0870 060 0870.