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Promoter: Viral sensation Ben Whittaker has potential to become ‘the face of boxing’

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Ben Whittaker garnered plenty of attention in a recent boxing match where he danced, taunted, and showboated before delivering a brutal fifth-round knockout.

The 26-year-old Olympic silver medalist immediately became a name worth watching in the sweet science, although not everyone in boxing loved his attitude. Whittaker received numerous warnings from the referee about his behavior, despite fans seemingly loving the flash and flair he displayed on his way to victory.

Whittaker’s promoter, Ben Shalom — the CEO from the upstart organization BOXXER — promises that one referee or even complaints from boxing purists won’t change Whittaker or his desire to put on a show every time he competes.

“With anyone else, I would say yes [it might change them], but I promise you he was warned by this referee and I think the referee was way over the top last time,” Shalom said on The MMA Hour. “Remember, I think it was the first time the U.S. audience were seeing him. There was some sort of, ‘We’ve got to stop this type thing.’ The referee went to see him beforehand and it didn’t stop him last time. It’s how he fights. It’s how he [unsettles] his opponent.

“He’s an absolute showman. He’s a superstar. Peacock and NBC are going absolutely crazy for him. He did 100 million views across platforms on his last fight. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Whittaker stated that he doesn’t behave that way in the ring just so he can rack up mentions and views on social media, but rather that’s just how he likes to fight.

That style, combined with a skill set that has Whittaker at 6-0 in his pro career with five knockouts, have Shalom convinced he has a future superstar on his hands.

“For me, it’s not just the future star of British boxing, but the future star of boxing,” Shalom said. “If anyone wants to be entertained, if anyone wants to be introduced to the sport of boxing — but he’s not just a showman, this guy is a phenomenal boxer. One of the most talented that I’ve ever seen, if not the most talented fighter I’ve ever seen. He’s been all around the world with his amateur career. He’s tough. He’s been in with Eastern Europeans. He’s been in with the Russians. He’s been in with the Cubans. So he ticks that box as well.

“I think for us as a promoter, as I said at the start of the interview, giving him that window, making sure he’s on the biggest platform, because this one is going to fly. Ben Whittaker can be a star for a long time in boxing. Potentially a face of boxing and the face of boxing. To have the impact he’s had in six fights, amassed over a million followers, one of the most followed boxers now in British boxing, in this amount of time is crazy.”

Whittaker’s next fight airs Sunday on the Peacock streaming service in the United States, which will only expand the audience of people able to see him compete.

As Shalom and BOXXER continue to expand into new territories, the 30-year-old promoter believes Whittaker may actually end up as the best possible avenue for the organization to conquer the United States.

“I believe he’ll probably be our entry to the U.S.,” Shalom said. “Because I know how keen NBC are [on him].”

Shalom believes Whittaker hasn’t even really tapped into his true potential just yet, but he expects to see more and more from him in each passing fight.

Along the way, Shalom has faith that Whittaker will continue stacking wins on top of wins and creating even more viral moments to keep his popularity growing.

“No one has seen anything yet,” Shalom said. “Because we luckily get to work with him and we know him and we know how focused he is, and we know what goes into his craft, and the team around him is phenomenal. You’ll see on Sunday.”

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