Boxing: Witter still struggling to beat system

Squabble over judges may strip Briton's latest title fight in US of its championship status

The boxing business continues for Junior Witter tonight in California with another world title fight, another unbeaten young American and yet another set of problems outside the ring. Witter has been the forgotten man of British boxing for over a decade, living in the shadow of Ricky Hatton and putting together a brilliant career that would shame most of the sport's so-called top performers.

Tonight, Witter fights Devon Alexander, an unbeaten southpaw who is just 22, for the vacant World Boxing Council light welterweight crown. It is the title Witter lost to Timothy Bradley, who was unbeaten in 21 fights, last year on a split decision.

There is a chance the fight will lose its championship status because the Californian authorities have insisted on using their judges and not the WBC's travelling party of men in bow ties. "It seems that I have to beat unbeaten Americans in the ring and the system on the outside of the ropes," said Witter, who for years tried to secure a fight with his British nemesis.

"Hatton hates me and he knows that I would beat him now, and that I would have beaten him at any point in the last decade. I don't blame him for avoiding me, I just wish that he would tell the truth about the situation.

"I guess that I've just been the wrong fighter, at the wrong time and in the wrong place. I live with it, but it is never easy and I do get annoyed when I hear some of the things that have been said about me," continued Witter, who is 35 and has been a pro since 1997.

Hatton held the World Boxing Union light-welterweight title at the same time that Witter was winning and defending the British, Commonwealth and European titles at the same weight. They both held versions of the world title in 2006, 2007 and 2008, but still Witter was unable to secure a fight.

In private, Hatton laughed at suggestions that Witter deserved a fight and joked about making his rival squirm, before finally saying that he was not going to give Witter a big payday. "He's made a career out of slagging me off at every opportunity," Hatton claimed.

"I tried to put him under pressure by challenging him, trying to embarrass him to get a fight," added Witter. "But in the end he turned away, blamed me, and he's not going to give me a chance now."

Hatton deservedly remains one of British sport's most loved characters and tonight, in a fight lacking any glitz, Witter will start as the underdog and without any British television in another real fight. "I'm used to being ignored," said Witter, who can win to avoid obscurity.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EYFS, KS1, KS2 Teachers

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to be part ...

class teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: a small rural school, is ...

Year 1 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: They want their school to ...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work in ...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star