By BRENDAN DALEY
Kitchener’s own world boxing champion, Fitz (The Whip) Vanderpool, is lacing up his gloves and stepping out of retirement for a second go at professional boxing.
Vanderpool will train harder than ever to obtain the Canadian Professional Championship Belt – a belt he held once before.
“I’m ready to come back. I’ve got unfinished business,” said Vanderpool, standing in his third floor boxing gym, located at 121 Charles St.
At 44 years old, Vanderpool is confident that his age won’t hold him back.
“They’ll tell you one of the first things you lose in boxing is your speed. My speed ain’t gone nowhere,” he says with a grin.
Two years ago, while watching one of Canada’s boxing champions fight on TV, Vanderpool thought to himself, “I could beat that guy. That’s my belt. I’m gonna wear it again.”
“I’ve always told myself I could be the best in this country at 40.”
Although four years passed, Vanderpool, who has been training aspiring boxers, has underwent training himself in preparation for his return fight.
“It’s a matter of how you live and how you conduct yourself and whether you’re willing to work to whatever is necessary to get the job done,” said Vanderpool regarding his age.
Neither a date, nor an opponent, have been selected for Vanderpool’s return bout. However, Vanderpool figures his first match will take place around April or May.
Since he broke the news about his return to professional boxing, many have been quick to “bully.”
As reported by the Boxing Examiner, fellow Canadian boxer, Jason Douglas, has called Vanderpool a “phantom champion” who has won “no real world title.”
Although Vanderpool has offered to go head-to-head with Douglas in the ring, Douglas has yet to accept the offer, saying that there is no honour in beating up an “over-the-hill fighter.”
“I’m getting all these haters who don’t wanna see me go back and do what I’m gonna do,” said Vanderpool.
In addition to a barrage of tests – neuropsychological testing, neurological testing, EEGs, EKGs and ECGs – Vanderpool had to undergo a skills test in order to return to professional fighting.
In front of a panel of officials, Vanderpool had to spar 12 rounds with five different partners to demonstrate his capabilities.
“The tests and the path that I went through getting ready to get licensed, if it wasn’t God’s will, I would never have passed those tests,” said Vanderpool.
To track Vanderpool’s journey back into professional boxing, visit his website at www.vanderpoolfitness.com, or follow him on Twitter —@fitzroythewhip.