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Sports

Web Desk
July 16, 2019

Former World Boxing Champion Pernell Whitaker passes away at 55

Sports

Web Desk
Tue, Jul 16, 2019

Pernell Whitaker, one of the greatest lightweight boxers of all time, died on Sunday after being hit by a vehicle.

The 55-year-old, affectionately known as ‘Sweet Pea’ during his fighting career, was hit by a car, at an intersection in Virginia Beach on Sunday night. Whitaker succumbed to his injuries on the scene.

According to local police, the driver remained on site with police, and the investigation remains active.

His son, Domonique Whitaker confirmed his father’s death through a Facebook post that said: "We lost a legend truly one of boxing's greatest Pound 4 Pound champions my father Pernell Sweetpea Whitaker”.

Whitaker, who was an amateur southpaw boxer known for his defensive prowess, turned pro after the 1984 Olympics where he won a gold medal. With an impressive 201-14 (with 91 knockouts) win record, he went on to become a world champion in four different weight classes: lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight.

After the news of his death emerged, tributes from the fellow boxing community started pouring out.

Former world champion Frank Bruno tweeted: “So sorry to hear of the passing of a defensive genius and one of the all time greats, Pernell Whittaker. May he rest in peace. My thoughts are with his family & close ones. #sweetpea”.

Among those who offered their condolences were the likes of: ex-WBA and lineal featherweight world champion, Barry McGuigan, promoter Eddie Hearn and ESPN broadcaster and former HBO Boxing commentator Max Kellerman.

Whitaker was recognized by boxing publication Ring Magazine as Fighter of the Year in 1989 and in 2002, the magazine ranked him the 10th greatest boxer of the last 80 years. After retiring from boxing in 2001 Whitaker worked as a trainer.

He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007.