Rising light-heavyweight star Ben Whittaker dazzles once again in Bournemouth as he takes out Stiven Leonetti Dredhaj with a two-punch finish in their fourth round; Watch Chris Billam-Smith vs Mateusz Masternak live on Sky Sports Arena
Sunday 10 December 2023 21:20, UK
Ben Whittaker returned to the scene of his electric pro debut to score another dramatic knockout victory.
He beat Stiven Leonetti Dredhaj on the Chris Billam-Smith vs Mateusz Masternak undercard at the Bournemouth International Centre.
Whittaker applied a fourth-round finish with a wickedly quick and cruelly powerful straight right-left combination.
Whittaker made an entrance as only he can. A ballerina preceded him, to restrained notes from a hidden piano before, the Wolverhampton man, in an ornate robe, stepped onto the stage.
He was greeted with cheers, and his showboating generated the occasional gasp.
But he stuck heavy punches into Dredhaj.
He blasted a cross through, that knocked the Italy-based Albanian back a few paces.
Whittaker took moments to dance, literally not metaphorically, after landing shots and he pirouetted himself away from Dredhaj's jab.
He found the placements for meaty left hooks, hits that landed with an audible thud.
Dredhaj charged into him, and even though they were tangled together, somehow Whittaker managed to slap a right hook into his face.
The Albanian backed off at the end of the second round as Whittaker walked him down. Tension between them threatened to go too far when they butted heads too after the bell.
The bout got rough in the third round, Whittaker clipping his antagonist with a hook as Dredhaj rushed at him.
The Albanian felt a hard shot and dropped to a knee. He managed, on rising, though to stab a stern short left into Whittaker's chin.
That prompted another bout of cheerful showboating with Whittaker looking away from his opponent.
The referee paused the action then to give Whittaker a telling off, which the crowd heartily jeered.
In the next round Whittaker stepped in to close the show, with a blasting two-punch combination that laid Dredhaj out flat on his back.
There was no continuing from that.
Their hostility was instantly forgotten as Whittaker eventually helped his fallen opponent to his feet and they would embrace in the centre of the ring to much applause.
"I told you I'm back, baby! Bournemouth is where I started, and I ended the year pretty well here," Whittaker said afterwards.
"Let's put our hands together for Stiven, a great fighter.
"The showboating drew him in. It was like burger, chips and a coke!"
Watch Chris Billam-Smith vs Mateusz Masternak live on Sky Sports Arena