'Records will not matter!': Shakan Pitters interview
Shakan Pitters tells Ezio Prapotnich he is relishing the chance to prove himself in the upcoming Ultimate Boxxer II tournament...
To rise to the challenge, to step out of your comfort zone and put everything on the line in front of the whole world, knowing that if you fall everyone will see, that if you fail there will be no one to point your finger at except yourself. To act in spite of fear, to feel the doubt and move forward anyway willing to give it your all and try your best without knowing if your all and your best will be enough, only one way to find out...
In this game there is no shame in defeat, only in retreat. Long story short: it takes a man to step into a ring. And it takes eight of such men to make Ultimate Boxxer II.
The second instalment of the new boxing/entertainment format will take place in London on 2 November 2018 at Indigo at The O2 featuring a light-heavyweight line up. With money on the line and the opportunity to stand out and move on to bigger things, action is guaranteed. Contestants come from different fighting backgrounds and levels of experience, but one of them is not worried about such things.
Hailing from the Eastside Boxing Club in Birmingham, which already claimed victory in the previous edition in Manchester, former footballer Shakan Pitters (7-0, 2 KOs) believes he has got what it takes...
BM: It is well documented that football was your first love, although coming from a boxing family. How did you go from kicking a ball to knocking people out?
SP: My dad was a professional boxer, campaigning at middle and super middleweight. I used to go to his fights and through him I grew up watching the likes of Mike Tyson. My brother was an amateur. I used to follow them to the gym since I was eight years old. I stuck to boxing training even while I was playing for West Bromwich Albion Academy. Unable to make a career out of it, I quit football at the age of 22 and joined the Fight 4 Change gym under coach Paddy Farrell, who taught me a lot. I had 25 fights over four years but I did not take the amateur game as seriously as I should have. My true vocation was to become a professional. I have a completely different attitude now.
BM: How did you turn pro and why? Are you in it for the glory, the money or both?
SP: First of all, I always watched professional boxing more than the amateurs. I’m a diligent scholar of the game and absorb what I see. Lots of people around me told me my style was better suited to the pro ranks. I became curious to see how far I could go with it. At that point I joined the Eastside gym and met my current trainer Paul Counihan. He put a lot of time into me and took me to a whole new level. Money is definitely appealing. If the right doors open, you can earn enough to get some stability. But it’s not just that. I enjoy the lifestyle and the self respect that comes from it. Plus, I relish the challenge and the one-on-one aspect of the sport. In football, you can blame your team if you lose, in boxing you have no excuses and nowhere to hide.
BM: Is there anything you learned from your football experience that has proved useful in your boxing career?
SP: Through football I developed competitiveness and a strong will to win. I am not a sore loser but I can be my own worst critic. I expect the best from myself always. Also, I used to compete in front of good sized crowds, hence I have no stage fright when I walk into the ring, even in my last fight that was on Amir Khan’s undercard at Birmingham Arena.
BM: After 5 points victories, you won your last two bouts by KO. Is that a sign of physical or mental improvement?
SP: My power hasn’t grown, my confidence did. I took my first five fights slowly as I wanted to get familiar with the pro game and understand the differences with the amateurs. I passed that stage now and things are starting to fall in place. I know what I am doing in there.
BM: What do you know about your fellow contestants?
SP: I know some have more experience than me and some less. A few of them I saw fighting, others I never heard of. I am not interested in finding out more. I am going into this with an open mind and staying focused on what I bring and what I can do. Come fight night, records will not matter. Whoever faces me on the night will better have something more than statistics to show.
BM: What do you bring to the table that might be key for victory?
SP: First of all, all my seven fights were four rounders, out of which the last two did not go the distance. The three-round format is not going to be an issue for me, while it might be for the more experienced contestants. Also, I am coming down from cruiserweight for this. Power is definitely going to be a factor. That aside I am tall and rangy, I have good footwork, I can box and I can fight inside. I have an answer for every style.
BM: Where will you continue your career if you win: at light-heavyweight or back to cruiser?
SP: We don’t know yet. Whatever makes more sense, wherever the opportunities are. Regardless of the division, we hope for a serious promotional offer.
BM: Who’s the man to beat at domestic level in each division?
SP: Anthony Yarde at light-heavyweight and Lawrence Okolie in the cruiserweight division.
BM: Is there anything else you would like to add or share with the public?
SP: I trained hard, left no stones unturned and feel no pressure whatsoever. I am not coming from Birmingham to London just to show up. I am coming to win. Watch this space!