Concession of his cherished British title late last year has convinced Birmingham light-heavy ace Shakan Pitters to transform from a tidy technician into a terminator ahead of his return to the Coventry Skydome Arena, live and free on Channel 5.
Though felled in round four, the 6ft 6in skyscraper believes he had clawed his way ahead after eight rounds of his maiden defence against Craig ‘Spider’ Richards, only to be dropped and stopped (whilst back upright), late in round nine. The complacency of cruising is something he now intends to curtail.
‘Previously, I’ve been too content to box to victory. Maybe I got too comfy. It’s changed my mentality. Now I won’t fight to decisions even though I’ve got the technical ability to dominate distance fights,’ claims the 32 year old ex logistics worker who claimed his crown four months earlier with a comprehensive 12 round decision over Chad Sugden.
True to his word, the high-rise Brummie bounced back with a brutal fifth round butchering of Bradford’s useful Jermaine Springer at Coventry’s Skydome last May.
Pitters’ presence certainly enriches promoter Mick Hennessy’s stellar show - headlined by Sam Eggington’s WBC Silver Middleweight title against unbeaten French rival Bilel Jkitou - when he takes Amsterdam’s experienced Farouk Daku over eights rounds.
‘Now my mindset is to win in dramatic fashion. I know what power I possess when I hold my feet. Jermaine was a strong kid but I felt I had to make a statement,’ says Pitters who can boast three clean knockouts in his five stoppage wins.
Formerly an Ultimate Boxxer, English and British champion, the Richards’ reverse represents the only stain on Shak’s 16 fight pro slate
‘I was boxing well, winning the fight but, up at this weight, all the best boys can hit and ‘Spider’ got a punch off,’ recalls the ex-West Bromwich Albion trainee.
‘It’s not as though it was a one-sided beating. The ref did his job but there were only about 15 seconds left in the round, in a title fight, and I was up. I can’t control the critics.
‘I trained to win as always but the better man won on the night. You just have to learn and move on. I learnt a lot, there’s improvements to be made. It’s part of my journey. You have to be graceful in defeat as well as victory and try to move forward. If we did it again, I’m sure I’d get the win, 100%. I’m a better boxer and I’ll never be beaten on heart. But I can’t become pre-occupied with chasing one fight.’
Alas, with Covid rampant, the finest night of Pitter’ four year fighting career, his coronation against Midland rival Sugden, transpired at an empty production studio in Redditch.
‘It was a bit of an anti-climax,’ concedes the string bean sharpshooter.
‘I’d have loved to have shared the night with my family and friends, snapping photos of me live rather than snapping their TV screens at home but I know they were all with me in spirit. Now they can return, I intend to give them their monies worth and win in dramatic fashion.’
So what of the future? The ex-champ, who is managed by Jon Pegg and coached by father-son duet Paul and Louis Counihan at the city’s thriving Eastside gym, was already 28 when committing to the profession in March 2017 and time is no longer a friend.
‘I may be 32 but I’m low mileage. I believe my fitness and power are as good as they’ve ever been,’ insists Pitters whose father Colin and uncle Rob were both respected pros.
‘With the likes of Joshua Buatsi, Callum Johnson, ‘Spider’, Lyndon Arthur, Anthony Yarde, the division is thriving and the fans need to get behind it. If I had a choice, a rematch with Spider would be top but I’d fight any of them. I’m scared of nobody and I’m confident of beating all of them. I bring a lot of advantages and I know what I’m capable of. You’ll notice there’s nobody calling me out.
‘I leave it to my team to navigate. One step at a time. If it made sense to fight for the British again, of course, I’d do it. I’d also love to fight for the European.
‘I’ve now been through the worst bit and never want to feel like that again. Look, there are other ways to make good money but my motivation has always been my little five year old daughter. She’s my pride, always utmost in my heart. Boxing has always been more of a passion in my family and I want to be the one who took it the furthest.’ finished the Brummie.