Showtime welcomes the new Witherspoon
28.06.06 - Twenty years ago this July, Tim Witherspoon had the defining fight of his career in keeping his world heavyweight championship with a dramatic knockout of Frank Bruno before a hostile and packed Wembley Stadium in London, England. And now, when the heavyweight division screams out for another American star, Terrible Timís cousin Chazz Witherspoon makes his national television debut on Showtime this Saturday, July 1st.
Article posted on 29.06.2006
From the time that Chazz gave up on a college basketball career and put on a pair of boxing gloves, he knew the questions and comparisons would come with the former two-time world heavyweight champion Tim.
"Weíre both big guys from Philly and in some ways our styles are similar. I admired Tim for what he did, what he accomplished. He was definitely an influence on me taking up boxing He gave me solid advice about how hard I would have to work," Chazz said. "But everyone knows I have to make my own way. Iím not an elite fighter yet. Iím a work in progress, but with hard work and determination I know I will get there. Iím only 24, Iíve only been boxing a couple of years so Iím still a baby in the sport."
This Saturday night the spotlight hits the next generation when the younger Witherspoon headlines a ShoBox special event featuring the sons and relations of former champs, including Ronald Hearns, James McGirt, Stephan Pryor and Jorge Paez Jr.
In the first major challenge of his young career, Witherspoon will meet a fellow unbeaten prospect in 11-0 Mike Alexander of Columbus, Ohio.
"Itís the biggest test of my career so far. Heís an undefeated fighter so heíll be determined to keep his record. Just like Iíll be determined to keep mine perfect," said Chazz, who lives up to his childhood nickname The Gentleman. "My time is coming. Sports has always been a major part of my life. I work at sports like I worked on my school work. Study and application, being able to take constructive criticism. It took me four years to get my college degree (from St. Josephís University). Why should boxing demand anything less of me."
The younger Witherspoon had a remarkable yet short amateur career, where he finished as the US Olympic alternate despite just a handful of fights. He capped off his time in the unpaid ranks when he became the first ever to win the US National Golden Glove heavyweight title with all stoppages.
"Just as I was getting acclimated to the amateur system, it was time to turn pro. And now Iím in the process of learning the pro style," Chazz stated. "I want to be a fan friendly fighter, who listens to the fans and fights in a way they enjoy. They pay for three-minutes of action every round and I intend to give three minutes of action every round.
"I want to be boxer/puncher, along the style of Joe Louis with cousin Timís defense and right hand. Everyone asks me about the overhand right of Tim, I promise you that Iím learning it. It takes time"
An initial glance at Witherspoonís 12-0, seven KO record might seem the 6-4,. 230-pounder does not have the big power, but he knows otherwise.
"Looks can be deceiving when you look at my record. Every opponent that went the distance with me, I had in serious trouble at some point in the fight. My last two fights, I had both guys hurting bad in the last round. I was landing a lot of punches and they were taking a great deal of punishment. But I need to work on being a better finisher. Iím confident when I get all my skills down that Iíll be a big puncher.
"Itís all about learning, working however hard I need to work to keep improving. I know a year from now that Iíll be a much better fighter. So if you like what you see now, itís going to get even better. This fight is another step in the quest to being heavyweight champion. Right now this guy Alexander is in my way. Heís a problem I aim to solve it."
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