Darlaston boxer Ben Whittaker slammed for showboating hits back at accusations

A professional boxer from Darlaston who was criticised for making 'a mockery of the sport' through showboating, has hit back saying he is in no way disrespectful.

Kicked out of school and sacked from two jobs, Ben Whittaker was, in his words, the 'class clown' at his school in Wolverhampton.

Fast forward a few years and the Darlaston boy is now a professional boxer, tipped to be a world champion.

But the fight to turn his life around has come with it's critics - and some have recently taken to social media to condemn his showboating.

The 26-year-old has been accused by boxing fans of 'making a mockery of the sport', while others have said 'he needs humbling'.

Ben remains tunnel visioned on his goal though to change his family's life and the criticism he receives, he says "goes in one ear and out the other".

He said: "A lot of people call it disrespectful, but it's show business, a lot of people are paying their hard-earned money, so I want to put a show on for them.

"Some people like it, some people don't, but I'm definitely not disrespectful.

"After the fight I see if my opponent is okay and the main thing is we both get to go back to our families.

"The main opinion in my head is my mum and dad, if they are happy then so am I.

"But you're going to see a lot more showboating definitely."

"The goal is to become a world champion, I'm the Pele of boxing"

Ben Whittaker has his sights set on becoming the best boxer in the world in his division and he believes he has the talent to back it up.

As an amateur, the light-heavyweight was consistently rated as one of the top prospects from the UK, and in 2022, he turned professional.

He is currently undefeated in his professional career.

Ben won bronze at the 2019 AIBA Boxing Championships, and was a silver medallist at the Tokyo Olympics.

Anthony Joshua's 258 Management signed Ben ahead of his professional debut and Anthony Joshua has backed the boy who lives near Walsall to be a superstar.

When asked what his dream is, Ben replied: "The goal is to be world champion and the best in the division, but it's bigger than that, it's putting my home on the map.

"I want to show that people from our area can do it as well.

"But mostly, a couple of world titles and my mum and dad won't have to work again and that's what I am doing it for."

"Boxing was a way to channel my ADHD"

Ben was diagnosed with ADHD from a young age and didn't know how to express himself.

In Year 11, Ben was kicked out of school.

He said: "I wasn't a naughty kid where I would be disrespectful, I just couldn't channel my energy, I was bouncing around the room and I would have to say something if it was quiet.

"I'd always have to do something and I didn't know why. The school couldn't take it anymore and I got kicked out.

"But respect to the teachers, they big me up now, they say how much I have changed and how much of a nice lad I am now.

"I hold my hands up I wasn't the best, but it is what it is.

"When I was diagnosed, I used to take medication and it wasn't for me, I was completely on a different planet.

"My dad said I have the perfect thing I'll take you down to boxing and after my first fight, he said ok we are taking this seriously.

"School just isn't for me and luckily enough I found another outlet where I can excel."

Ben's next fight is the Smith vs Eubank Jr rematch at the AO arena Manchester on September 2.