'Hitter' honing in on Hatton, but fight with Bradley comes first
Still fighting in anonymity, Junior "The Hitter" Witter is hoping for an impressive win over Timothy Bradley on Saturday that will have fight fans clamoring for a unification showdown with Ricky Hatton.
LONDON -- If a visitor to the old gym on the outskirts of Sheffield, England -- where boxers of the pedigree of Prince Naseem Hamed, Herol Graham and Johnny Nelson all learned their trade -- were to walk past the 33-year-old hitting the heavy bag, Junior Witter would not bat an eyelid.Even in his own environment, Witter conveys anonymity. For years, one of the world's best junior welterweights was ignored while, in a quiet and businesslike manner, he built up an impressive body of work. The reason for people's ambivalence dated back to Witter's failed challenge against then-junior welterweight titleholder Zab Judah in June 2000, when Witter was vilified for his tactics. "If I knew this was a track meet, I would have brought my track shoes," Judah said then, even though he, too, was culpable for the lack of action. Witter had been boxing for only three years, and he accepted the fight on just nine days' notice, so the onus ought to have been on Judah, the seasoned pro, to initiate fireworks. In retrospect, Witter -- who will defend his WBC junior welterweight title Saturday against unbeaten Timothy Bradley from Palm Springs on Showtime's ShoBox series -- would have done things differently. But he is proud of the character he showed both in that bout and on his seemingly interminable journey to redemption, during which he was virtually ostracized.