Hull bad boy boxer Shaun Whittles gets life back on track
HULL'S newest professional boxer Shaun Whittles says he's looking forward to starting a new chapter after turning his life around this year.
The 28-year-old will make his professional debut tomorrow in Cleethorpes on the under card to the eagerly-anticipated English super-featherweight title fight between Kevin Hooper and Gary Sykes.
For Whittles, his debut marks the start of a new beginning following a difficult year.
The former Royal Marine says he had a tough time serving in Afghanistan and got into a bad cycle of getting into trouble when going out drinking in Hull.
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Having seen it come to a head when charged with being drunk and disorderly, Whittles has got his life back on track.
"I have really turned my life around this last year and people are seeing that now," Whittles told the Mail.
"My boxing has helped and since November I have lost 30 pounds through training, hard work and dedication.
"I didn't have a drinking problem, but I had a problem when I was drinking in town and getting into fights. I've finally grown up and I'm focussed on my boxing now."
Whittles' transformation inside and outside the ring has been substantial.
A reformed character, he's gone from a light-heavyweight to super-middleweight, with his progress delighting coaches Niall Almond and Gordon Haigh at Hull Saints boxing club.
A former amateur boxer and West Hull rugby player, Whittles is hoping to make an immediate impact.
Despite the weight loss he insists he's maintained his strength and after getting in the ring with 14 stone opponents previously, he's looking forward to seeing the difference dropping down the weight divisions makes.
"Because I'm lighter I am a lot quicker and speed equals power," adds Whittles.
"Last year I was boxing 14 stone guys, now it's 12 stone and that will make a difference as I've lost none of my power. I'm training really hard and giving everything I've got and I'm now looking forward to getting this first fight out of the way."
While making his debut in Cleethorpes may seem like an ideal scenario away from the pressure of a hometown fight, Whittles says he'd rather be boxing in Hull.
A large travelling support will cheer on the super-middleweight and he says he cannot wait to get through this contest and start his preparation for his second fight, hopefully in Hull.
"I'm looking forward to getting this one out of the way and then to start looking forward to a fight in Hull," adds Whittles.
"I'm looking forward to my next camp as I've learnt so much from this one and I now know what it takes. I want to put into practice what I've learned, but first it's about getting that first win."