Family means everything to Ryan Whitehead as he devotes his next ring assignment to the memory of his late great-grandmother. It’s been an emotional ride for him, just getting to BCB Promotions’ final bill of the year at the Hangar Events Venue, in Wolverhampton, on the Friday night of December 16.
His great-gran sadly passed away in November, with bereavement also coming Whitehead’s way in his previous training camp, when great-grandad Ronald also died.
But the 28-year-old super middleweight is battling on with the aim of improving his pro record, which stands at 2-0 with a TKO registered last time out. Whitehead, who grew up in the Telford town in Oakengates but now lives in Muxton, stopped Steve Davies in the third round, after a relentless onslaught. His pro debut came back in February 2020, where he completed four rounds to outpoint Kearon Thomas, through a 40-36 scoreline.
He’s trained by ex-pro Tristan Davies, who also coaches amateurs at Donnington Boxing Club, with Whitehead having aspirations of swapping the ring for the corner down the line. He’s already working as a personal trainer, which is boxing focussed, having previously been employed as a network engineer for CityFibre.
The father-of-three is dad to Noah, Liliyah and Imogen, having previously formed a bond with his great-grandparents.
Whitehead said: “My grand-grandmother passed away in November, so I dedicate this fight to her. My great-grandad died three weeks before my last fight and I did the same then.
“They had a big impact on me growing up and it’s heart-breaking. I’ve been mentally put to the test and I’ve had times when I wanted to pull out, but I don’t have that in me.
“I’ve kept myself busy. I tend to do my PT sessions early in the morning and late in the evening so the rest of the time is, pretty much, for training and spending with family.
“My niche is boxing. In a way, when I’m done, I think I might be a better coach than I was a fighter. I’m good at breaking the game down into different fundamentals.
“I’m very textbook, I can teach my clients how to box on the back-foot and about coming forward, which I’m more than able to do myself. I even spar with a few of them!
“I work with my clients at Donnington Boxing Club, where I used to go as an amateur and my coach (Tristan Davies) has given me a key, so I’m there a lot.
“I also use the Foundry Gym (Telford), which is one of the best places that I’ve been to for facilities and it’s open 24 hours a day! It’s fully equipped, for boxing and bodybuilding.
“All of the PT slots that I have are full, so I must be doing something right. Around that, I train, at least, twice a day, and more than that when possible.
“My son (Noah) is only 14 months old, so I get to see a lot of him and he seems to love boxing too. I got him a punchbag and he’s never off it. This might become a family business!
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring, I want another good win and then to push on in the new year. I definitely want to do a six-rounder next and get the distance in.
“I didn’t know anything about my last opponent, apart from him being a debutant, but I’d rather that than someone who just tucks up and runs.
“There was no doubt that he came to win, he came forward and that left gaps, that I exposed. I stuck the jab to him and used my punch selection.
“I hit him with a right hand, his legs started to wobble and he fell forward. The referee grabbed him and waved it off, otherwise he’d have ended up on the floor.
“My next opponent might be more durable, but I don’t ask questions. I get in there and do my job. I’m not bothered about the rounds, over four, I just want to be in entertaining fights.”