Tokyo 2020 - Ben Whittaker says his ‘showman’ style has caught the eye of former GB Olympian Anthony Joshua
Ben Whittaker has opened up on his relationship with ‘good friend’ Anthony Joshua ahead of his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, claiming the former Olympian and current World Heavyweight Champion has been impressed by his non-typical GB style. “He likes my style. He always asks me questions about why I do this, why I do that. We’ve got a good relationship.”
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London 2012 Super-heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua has reached out to Ben Whittaker ahead of his Olympic debut in Tokyo on Sunday.
The 24-year-old has revealed that the current heavyweight champion of the world, who learned his trade during the Games in London nine years ago on his way to becoming a professional, has been in touch in the lead up to this year’s Olympics.
“We’re good friends, we talk a lot, he likes my style because it’s not really a typical GB style.
Anthony Joshua of Great Britain is declared gold medal winner over Roberto Cammarelle of Itay in the Super-Heavyweight (+91kg) boxing final of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the ExCel Arena August 12, 2012 in London. Joshua took gold on a close points d
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“I don’t think the judges like it that much because I always get told off but I’m a bit of a showman and I think it will work when I’m a pro but amateurs are not really like that.”
He explained AJ had been in touch over Instagram, offering support and analysing Whittaker’s recent performances as he looks to follow in the footsteps of the gold medallist.
He always asks me questions about why I do this, why I do that - we’ve got a good relationship.
Whittaker’s godfather and trainer Joby Clayton has recently been appointed as AJ’s new coach, as the two-time world heavyweight champion looks to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.
Clayton was recruited after impressing AJ’s camp with Whittaker’s style in a sparring session.
“He watched me sparring a lad down here and he said ‘why you doing this?’ I said this is my style really.
“He asked who I trained with at home and I said my dad and Joby, and I think he was messaging him and asking him a few questions, he liked what he got back and they are where they are now.”
The West Bromwich-born boxer will make his first appearance at the Games on Sunday when he takes on 33-year-old Columbian Jorge Luis Vivas Palacios at the Kokugikan Arena.
In an interview with
, the debutant claimed he will be looking to put on a show and that UK audiences should expect a ‘neat’ performance.
“Truthfully, with amateurs I try to keep it nice and neat but I'm just a showman, I just love showing off, I can’t help it!”
I’m a nice, humble lad outside the ring but when I get in there I’m very arrogant, I’m very cocky and I like to put on a show.
“Like I say, every time we go to tournaments we get debriefs, we’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do that, all they say to me is please don’t showboat!
“I go into a completely different zone and just tune in and do what I can do.”
Team GB kick start their boxing events on Saturday with a spree of round of 16 bouts across the weekend.
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: From Left to Right - Caroline Dubois, Cheavon Clarke, Charley Davison, Halal Yafai, Ben Whittaker, Karriss Artingstall, Frazer Clarke, and Lauren Price of Great Britain pose for a photo to mark the official announcement of th
Image credit: Eurosport
Karriss Artingstall takes on Botswana’s Sadie Keamogetse Kenosi in the Women’s feathers (54-57kg), whilst Peter McGrail faces Thailand’s Chatchai-Decha Butdee in the Men’s bantam (52-57kg) later that morning.
Three further GB boxing events take place the following day starting with the Women’s fly (48-51kg). Charley-Sian Davison will fight Morocco’s Rebab Cheddar, with Luke McCormack in action against India’s Manish Kaushik in the Men’s light (57-63kg).
Ben Whittaker will then step into the ring for the first time representing Great Britain at the Olympics in the Men’s light heavy (75-81kg).
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