Birmingham-based light-heavyweight contender, Shakan Pitters, currently holds an impressive unbeaten record of 11 wins and no losses.
Pitters’ most notable achievement was conquering the second season of Ultimate Boxxer back in November 2018 at the Indigo at the O2 in London.
BBN recently caught up with the 29-year-old Brummie to discuss all matters from winning the tournament, his future aspirations in boxing, sparring British champ Joshua Buatsi, as well as important issues outside of boxing:
You gained a lot of recognition after winning the second season of Ultimate Boxxer. How do you think that will benefit you going into this year and your career in the future?
"Winning Ultimate Boxxer has boosted my profile. It’s made a lot of people around the country aware of me. People around the world, actually. I’ve had messages from New Zealand, India, all kinds of crazy places. It’s really boosted my profile. A lot of people now recognise my name: Shakan Pitters. They recognise me, and can follow my journey. I’ve still got to carry on doing the hard-work in the gym, and winning in the ring. Ultimate Boxxer has just made people a lot more familiar with my name now."
How did you find the format of Ultimate Boxxer, and what advice would you give to the contenders for season three?
"The format was good. I used the advantages that I have, and I would instruct that to any Ultimate Boxxer contender. It’s all about boxing to your advantages. My game plan, going in to it, was to ensure I won the first round. I didn’t want to spend any time chasing the fight. I just made sure, from the get-go, that I established myself. I always made sure that I won round one, and then from there, I won the tournament by doing the basics. I’m a tall and rangy fighter, so I used my jab, and used it to set up everything. Every punch I was throwing was with a jab. Boxers entering season three should just relax, box to their strengths, and more importantly: enjoy it. Enjoy the moment, enjoy everything about it."
For that tournament, you moved down from cruiserweight to light-heavyweight. Do you intend on staying at light-heavyweight, and do you feel more powerful at this weight?
"Yes, I’m definitely staying at light-heavyweight. At cruiserweight I was scoring knockdowns and I knew I had the power, but I feel like it’s a lot easier at light-heavyweight for me. When I do catch these light-heavyweights with the ten ounce gloves, I know I’m hurting them because I’ve carried my power down from cruiserweight. I don’t feel drained, and I make the weight easily in the gym. This is the weight for me. People are going to be seeing a lot more exciting knockdowns from myself, and many more great displays in the light-heavyweight division. 6ft 6ins at light-heavyweight, it’s unheard of. I think I’m probably the tallest light-heavyweight around right now."
So far you’ve shown a lot of athleticism in your fights, particularly your power and stamina. Where do you think this has come from, or is it something you’ve always had?
"I believe I’ve always had the power and stamina. With regards to the power, I’m better at knowing when to use it now. When you start off, like any professional, you’re finding your feet in the pro game, and seeing where you’re at with your style of boxing. But now, I know when to use my power, and how to use my power. Stamina wise, I train really hard. I don’t leave any stones unturned. I put my body through it each camp. Even in my strength and conditioning with Des Witter, I try to smash records, like I did in the last camp. Every camp, I’m getting better and stronger."
Now that you’re ranked highly in the light-heavyweight division, is there any other British light-heavyweights who you would like to face soon?
"I just want a title, so whoever’s got the titles; that’s who I want. I think this year, I should have a title around my waist. If I haven’t got a title, then I’m doing something wrong. There’s no one else to blame. This year I should definitely have a title around my waist."
Have you sparred many of the other British light-heavyweights?
"I’ve recently sparred Joshua Buatsi. I’ve been having some good rounds with him. He’s a quality operator. He’s a great person as well, in and out of the ring. I was sparring him before his British title fight with Liam Conroy. I’ve learned from sparring with him, and he’s learned from sparring with me. Like in my last fight, you hope that you can execute what you’ve learned in sparring because sparring is all about learning. But yes, we have good quality spars."
What do you make of Anthony Yarde, and the criticism he receives at times? And what do you think of the fight between him and Sergey Kovalev, if it happens?
"People are always going to give criticism, whether you’re doing good or bad in boxing. If Mayweather got criticism, what makes anyone think that no-one else will get criticism? I’m going to get criticism, everyone is going to get criticism. He’s doing what’s right for him. He’s obviously done something right to get himself in that position. His path is his path, but I’m not really watching Anthony Yarde’s path. I’m watching my own path, and trying to better myself. Would I like to be in his shoes, to fight a Kovalev further down the line in my career, and have an unbeaten record like he has? Of course I would. Any boxer would say yes to that. So I can’t knock what he’s doing. If people feel he’s taken the easy route, that’s just a matter of opinion. I’m sure it doesn’t bother him. All he cares about is putting the food on the table for his family, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. Each boxer should go home safe to their family, and be looking after their loved ones."
Just finally, with your next fight being on BT Sport on the Ultimate Boxxer season three card, what sort of opponent are you hoping to fight and are you looking forward to fighting on such a big platform?
"Yes, I always look forward to fighting on a big platform. It’s all about getting my name out there. I’m always excited to fight. I just try to go in there, do the best I can, and give the fans what they want to see. If that’s knockouts, then I’ll try to deliver that. Also, I can display good boxing whilst doing so. With someone like myself, and with the power that I have, I don’t need to go looking for the knockout. I do want a good opponent because as well as my offensive game, I’ve got a brilliant defensive game. It’s something that I practise in sparring. People would see an all round good performance from myself. I’ll be 12-0 for sure."
Thanks for speaking to us, Shakan. Is there anything more you want to add?
"I’ve seen a lot of things with regards to knife crime in the area where I’m from, Birmingham, and in London. Boxing fans and my supporters have contacted me, wanting to share their stories of what they’re doing to tackle knife crime. I’m more than happy to support these causes. I hope boxing on big platforms, like Ultimate Boxxer, and other fights can show the youth that you can use your energy to do more productive things. Whether it’s through boxing or any other sport, it can help one person put a knife down."
To follow Shak on Twitter, click here @ShakanPitters