Junior middleweight Charles Whittaker (38-12-2) may be the underdog, but he plans to catapult up the rankings with an upset win over Gabriel Rosado (20-5) when the two meet on September 21 at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in the Cayman Islands.
The fight will serve as an IBF junior middleweight eliminator with the winner going on challenge champion Cornelius Bundrage.
The bout will be part of the televised card for the September 21 edition of NBC Sports Network Fight Night beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Full press release below:
Georgetown, Cayman Islands – Junior middleweight Charles Whittaker hopes everyone underestimates his chances of beating Gabriel Rosado when the two collide Friday evening, Sept. 21, at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
The winner of the scheduled 12-round contest will become the No. 1 contender and official mandatory challenger for IBF world champion Cornelius K9 Bundrage.
The Whittaker-Rosado bout is one of three to be televised Sept. 21 by the NBC Sports Network Fight Night series. The others: Gabriel Campillo, of Madrid, Spain, vs. Sergey Kovalev, of Chelyabinsk, Russia, 10 rounds, light-heavyweights; Ronald Cruz, of Bethlehem, PA, vs. Antwone Smith, of Miami, FL, 12 rounds, for Cruz’ WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Title. The NBCSN broadcast will begin at 9PM ET.
Whittaker, 38, of the Cayman Islands, has boxed under the radar during most of his 19-year career. His 38-12-2 record includes 23 knockouts, but he rarely has been in high-profile matches.
“This fight means the world to me,” Whittaker said. “I have paid my dues and ready to be number one in the world. After this fight I will challenge for the IBF 154 world title.”
Whittaker gained the No. 2 slot in the IBF ratings due to a pair of 12-round victories in his two most recent fights–over Keenan Collins, of Reading, PA, 14 months ago in the Cayman Islands for the vacant USBA junior middleweight title, and over Giorbis Barthelemy, of Cuba, last November, in Miami, FL.
Whittaker has beaten former world-title challenger Billy Lyell and he has lost to some of the best–Troy Rowland, Mikkel Kessler, Shannon Taylor and Hercules Kyvelos.
“There are some people who told me I would never make it as a professional boxer and I have proved them wrong,” Whittaker said. “When I step into the ring on September 21 it will be no different. I know Rosado will be game but I have the experience and I am hungry to win.”
Proof of Whittaker’s popularity in the Cayman Islands is the fact that Premier McKeeva Bush plans to attend the Sept. 21 fight in Bethlehem.
It has been a long and winding road to the top spot for Whittaker, who got into trouble as a youth in the Cayman Islands. Born in Georgetown, he later moved to West Bay and was placed in a Jamaican reform school.
He returned home to attend Cayman Island High School. After graduation, his cousin John Evans took Whittaker to the local boxing gym where Dalmain Ebanks became his first coach and mentor.
After a brief amateur career, Whittaker turned pro in 1993 and won a four-round decision over Larry Jarrett, of Lafayette, TN.
With few opportunities in the Cayman Islands, Whittaker headed for Florida and spent time in Hollywood at Angelo Dundee’s gym under the guidance of Joe Quinlan and Dell Cava, then moved to Pensacola and worked with Roy Jones. Back in Hollywood, he finally hooked up with Norman Wilson, who has been his trainer for the last 10 years.
A native Philadelphian, Wilson is a former US Marine and Dade County Public School teacher with over 40 years boxing experience. He has worked with Oliver McCall, Tony Tucker and Randall Bailey.
Whittaker and family members formed Knockout Productions, Ltd., a group which promotes Whittaker’s fights in the Cayman Islands with Whittaker in the main event. Longtime friend Raul Alvarez, of Winter Haven, FL, is matchmaker and advisor.
Rosado, 26, of Philadelphia, PA, earned the No. 3 slot in the IBF ratings this year with knockout victories over Jesus Soto-Karass, of Mexico, and over Sechew Powell, of Brooklyn, NY. The win over Powell topped the June 1 card in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the 2,000-seat Event Center at the Sands.
A pro since 2006, Rosado has a 20-5 record, 12 K0s. He has won his last six fights and also has defeated ex-IBF champ Kassim Ouma, of Uganda, and contender Saul Roman, of Mexico.
ABOUT SEPTEMBER 21
The Campillo-Kovalev and Cruz-Smith fights top a seven-bout card at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. First fight is 7.15 pm. Tickets priced at $130 (luxury suites), $80 and $55 can be purchased through the offices of Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922), all Ticketmaster outlets (800-745-3000) or at the box office at the Sands Event Center (610-297-7414). Tickets also can be purchased online at www.peltzboxing.com, www.SandsEventCenter.com and www.Ticketmaster.com. In Bethlehem, tickets are available at Deja Brew, Inc., 101 West 4th Street (610-865-2739) and at Pronto Insurance Notary, 232 East 3rd Street (610-419-6790). NBC Sports Network will televise the Campillo-Kovalev and Cruz-Smith fights, beginning at 9 pm. The card is being promoted by Main Events and Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., in association with Sampson Boxing and the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
NBC SPORTS NETWORK FIGHT NIGHT SCHEDULE (All Times ET)
Friday, September 21, 9-11pm – Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
Saturday, December 8, 9-11 pm – Site TBA
To find the location of the NBC Sports Network on your local cable, satellite or IPTV provider, click here:http://www.nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/30092015/ns/sports/
Tweet the link to NBC Sports Network Fight Night channel finder: bit.ly/175UuU
Twitter: @main_events @NBCSN