Light heavyweight starlet Ben Whittaker was warned by Ezra Arenyeka what would happen if he attempted to showboat and act disrespectfully towards him. The Nigerian, based in Cheshire, England, was as good as his word at the end of the sixth when he hurled his head in the direction of Whittaker’s as the Englishman, after dominating the round, attempted to direct him to his own corner.

The prospect smiled at the infraction, perhaps realising that his own cockiness had triggered it.

The referee Bob Williams let that one go but had to act in the seventh when Arenyeka let fly with a right elbow that landed with a thud after he missed with a shot from the same arm. 

“It turned into UFC at times, he headbutted me, he elbowed me, but it’s all a good experience,” Whittaker said after otherwise dominating the 10-rounder. “I made him look silly and I won easily.”

Though plucky, the heavy underdog was indeed outclassed and outfoxed despite promising not to fall for any of Whittaker’s tricks – which were typically aplenty.

“The Surgeon” won by scores of 99-90 (twice) and 100-89 which were read out moments after Whittaker hurt Arenyeka in the final round. To Arenyeka’s credit, those dying moments were the only time he appeared in any real trouble.

“I knew he was going to be tough,” Whittaker said. “If you saw him at the weigh-in; at the press conference when he stormed in. He was fighter, it was a great fight. I boxed beautiful and I came away with the belt.”

The belt, for what it’s worth, was the IBF international strap. Though Whittaker won it at a canter he failed to fulfil his promise of a knockout.

“If I stood here and said I didn’t want to knock him out, I’d be lying,” he admitted. “But at the end of the day I kept it clean, I hurt him a couple of times but I came away with the win.”