Solihull pugilist Shakan Pitters is focusing on his next goal and a win under the bright lights of the Genting Arena this weekend using the skill and agility that helped him in his previous career as a professional footballer.
Pitters was with the West Bromwich Albion Academy for much of his teenage years and was also a highly-rated cricketer before stumping for a career in the ring and following in the family footsteps. Both his father Colin and his two brothers were professional boxers and Pitters said it was always likely he'd choose boxing if his football career did not materialise.
"I loved playing football but when I didn't get the senior career I'd dreamed of I was happy to get in the ring. I love boxing and now - a year on from making my debut - I feel I made the right move." Pitters revealed it was now his own family and, in particular his desire to provide for his baby daughter Leilani, that had driven him to pursue a career in boxing. "She is my inspiration and reason for all I do,” he added. “She is only two years old right now so too young to know what daddy does or why but I hope one day when she is older she will look back and be proud that her daddy was a decent boxer." With four wins out of four, the 28-year-old is excited by the chance to fight under the glare of publicity at the Genting.
"I hung up my football boots and took up the gloves after a decent lifestyle chasing sporting success. "Obviously I was gutted when the football came to an end and my academy days were over but I haven't looked back since getting in the ring. "I guess it was the natural thing to do following in my dad's footsteps.” At 6ft 5inches tall Pitters, an Orthodox fighter with a long reach, believes he will be adding another notch to his belt tonight.
He said: "I'm feeling great especially as we had a delay in the date of the fight which gave me an extra few weeks' training. "I was even able to get away and have a little sun in Lanzarote and do some warm weather training too so I'm fit and raring to go. "Being from Solihull, the Genting Arena is home soil so I'm looking forward to representing my Eastside Gym with some home-town support and really showing the home crowd what I can do.
Two IBO Continental fights top the bill as Ludlow’s Craig Morris defends his welterweight title against Leek’s Andy Keates whilst Birmingham’s Andrew Robinson battles Brighton’s Nicky Jenman for the vacant middleweight crown. Two Area Titles are also on the line as Wolverhampton’s Kyle Williams takes on Nottingham’s Jordan turner for the Midlands Area Bantamweight strap and Birmingham’s Kash Ali steps in with Sheffield’s David Howe for the Central Area Heavyweight crown. A whole host of local prospects – Kelcie Ball, Tommy Ghent, Mussab Abubaker, Tommy Ghent and Tommy Loach – also feature. Tickets are available from the ticketfactory.com, or the boxers direct, priced at £40, £60, £100 or £150.