Ben Whittaker doesn’t see or carry himself like an undercard fighter.

The light heavyweight makes his latest appearance this weekend and although the highly anticipated fight between British and Commonwealth 175lb champion, Dan Azeez, and 2016 Olympic Bronze medallist, Joshua Buatsi takes top billing, Whittaker will be aiming to make the most of his supporting role and steal the show.

‘The Surgeon’ has made quite the impact during his five professional fights and although many fans laud him for his boxing ability and ruthless finishing streak, he has attracted an pretty sizeable number of detractors who see his confident, showboating style as disrespectful.

Whittaker (5-0 4 KO’s) boxes Khalid Graidia over eight rounds on Saturday but will be hoping to conclude his business quickly and take his seat for the main event. The 2020 Olympic bronze medallist wants a close look at his rivals. 

“Truthfully, skill wise I’m there now but it’s about experience,” he said at this weeks public workout. “Those guys are 33, 34 and I’m 26. A couple more fights - a couple more testing fights - like this Saturday, throw me in the mix because I believe I’ll beat them both.”

Graidia is becoming something of a trial horse for British fighters. The Frenchman has given valuable rounds to Karol Itauma and Ezra Taylor whilst Azeez beat him over eight rounds in a late notice keep busy outing last summer. The world ranked Zach Parker did force him to retire after seven rounds in September but although Whittaker should win handily on Saturday night, Graidia may be resilient enough to draw a good performance out of him.

The winner of the WBA final eliminator fight between Azeez and Buatsi will naturally turn their attentions towards the top of the 175lb division but they may have to wait for their shot. Dmitry Bivol holds the WBA title but he looks set to meet WBC, IBF and WBO champion Artur Beterbiev in a hotly anticipated clash for the undisputed light heavyweight title. If the winner decides to stay busy, a domestic showdown with Anthony Yarde would be a massive event in Britain. The loser will be looking for a high profile route back to prominence.

Whittaker wants to get to the top as quickly as possible but is a smart operator and will be fully aware that he needs a little more seasoning before jumping straight in at that level. He also seems to have quickly grasped the way professional boxing works these days and realises the value of inserting himself into the conversation as a potential opponent for either man.

“Both of them have got a great name so that on your resume, you wouldn’t really complain but I think anyone with a bit of ambition would push towards the winner,” he said. “But I know both guys. I’ve sparred Buatsi countless rounds. I’ve sparred Azeez back in the day but he’s good friends with my dad. They always have banter about the football so all I can do [is say] may the best man win because they are both great people really but at the end of the day, I’d push towards the winner but if the loser came on board, I wouldn’t mind either.”