Virgil Hunter to head Chazz Witherspoon’s corner, technical training is key ahead of Seth Mitchell fight

17 Apr

Denzil Stone – Atlantic City

In order to ready himself for his all-American affair with rising heavyweight contender Seth Mitchell on April 28 at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, 30-year-old Philadelphian Chazz Witherspoon has enlisted the services of 2011 Futch-Condon award-winning trainer Virgil Hunter, best known for his work in masterminding Andre Ward’s path to the unified WBC/WBA super middleweight world championship and the Super Six World Boxing Classic title.

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Hunter (in red, left) with his premier prizefighter Ward. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

Undefeated creator of in-ring Mayhem, Mitchell, a 29-year-old from Maryland, is on a fast-track to contention for one of the heavyweight world championships following a sterling 2011 that saw him trounce Charles Davis, Evans Quinn, Hector Ferreyro and, most impressively, Timur Ibragimov – all of them by way of knockout.

There has been a change in personnel in Witherspoon’s training camp as Hunter has been employed to come up with the game-plan for the fight, together with the training and exercise routines during the preparation period.

“This will be my first fight under Virgil Hunter,” stated Witherspoon (30-2-0, 22ko), whose two defeats have been against his two most significant opponents in Chris Arreola and Tony Thompson. He continued: “Wade and Randy Hinnant were training me before I came to Virgil [but] my coach, Wade, is still going to be in the corner. Virgil is going to be the number one in the corner. Ken Norton [former heavyweight champ, now of Jaw Breaker Management] actually suggested me attempting to get with a new trainer and he mentioned Virgil.

“The funny thing about Virgil was the fact that I had a list of three trainers that if I ever worked with anybody else, the three guys that I would work with, and Virgil’s name was on that list. The three names were – in no particular order – Nazim Richardson, Virgil Hunter, and Barry Hunter.

“I talked with Virgil on the phone. I had met him before because me and Dre [Andre Ward] were roommates back for the 2004 Olympics. It kind of came together and I came out here. I think I had a five-week camp for this fight. He’s a brilliant man-brilliant, brilliant mind when it comes to boxing.”

Hunter has overseen Ward’s transition from beginner, to Olympic gold medalist, to professional, to world champion, however, he has also honed in on Ward’s greatest assets: that he is able to hit and not get hit in return. When Ward defeated Super Six finalist Carl Froch last year, the Englishman credited Dre’s ability to keep himself out of punching range – whether inside or outside.

It is perhaps this ability that Hunter may hope to instil into Witherspoon’s style because of Mitchell’s monstrous power. Seth boxed four times last year, but, collectively, his opponents only saw eight rounds between them.

“He’s a heck of a strategist,” said The Gentleman Witherspoon. “He just has a really brilliant mind when it comes to boxing. Virgil has helped me from the technical side of things, cleaning up some stuff that I needed to work on.”

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