The clock is already ticking for light heavyweight prospect Ben Whittaker, with the Olympic silver medallist counting down to a world title fight.

Whittaker is just 7-0 (5 KOs) and has a divisive style that some love and others detest. But in the social media era, his showboating and showmanship have caused him to go viral on occasion.

Yet Whittaker is all business discussing his future. Having suffered with injuries, Whittaker is keen to push into contention and has won three fights in five months. He will meet 12-0 (10 KOs) Eworitse Ezra Arenyeka on June 15, with the chance to headline at home in the Midlands if he comes through.

But Whittaker hopes it will not be long before he is mentioned alongside the best of the division and enters the title picture. He does not want to wait around.

“Yeah, me and my dad are like that. You can’t drag your heels,” said Whittaker. “I’m 26, and when you’re 28, 29, you’re in your prime, really. So when I get to about 28 – the latest 29 – I want to be a world champion. That’s the mindset that we’ve got, and when I’m 34 I’ll probably want to be retired, if I’m honest. I think when you stay in it too long, you’re not your best.”

Whittaker has recently been in the U.S. with promoter Ben Shalom, and there is a hope he will box there soon, which is something Whittaker is keen to do.

“It was good – good business trip, positive things from it and hopefully you’ll see soon,” Whittaker said of being in New York last month.

“If I’m honest [about my future], it’s just box and win, but I think my style, the way I carry myself, my following has grown from America when I was out there. A lot of people started noticing me, so it’s definitely on the radar now.

“They love it. It’s very different [from the U.K.], but if I’m honest, that’s why I love the U.K. U.K.’s my home, and we’ve always got something to say about anybody, good or bad. That’s what I like. Whereas over in America, there was some, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God.’

“But is it real? I don’t know.”

The 175-pound division is deep domestically, with the hope that Anthony Yarde and Joshua Buatsi could meet this summer. Then there is Craig Richards and Willy Hutchinson, who fight on Saturday, and Dan Azeez, who will return from his loss to Buatsi on the June 15 card at Selhurst Park in London.

Is Azeez someone Whittaker has his eyes on?

“If anything, they’re looking at me, because they know I bring the eyes and all I can do is keep winning and winning and winning,” Whittaker said. “This fight [on June 15] now is for a belt [a WBA bauble]. 

“This year’s about building, getting a belt or two on the way, and that’s what they’re providing. So for me, I’ll just focus on myself.”

And while “The Surgeon” would like to get in the mix with the biggest names domestically, Whittaker has a feeling that he might be part of a new generation and he will slot in behind those fighting one another now.

“Yeah, I’d love to [face the likes of Yarde and Buatsi] and I think that’s what the fans want, and I think that’s what the fans need, but we might be on two different paths. They’re 34, 35. I think people like Yarde might have one more shot at a world title and that might be him done, whereas I’m 26 and I’m going through the ranks pretty quick, so if we do meet in the middle that would be perfect. If not, it might be one of those where it’s gone too late.”

Whittaker has yet to go beyond eight rounds, so it’s easy to jump the gun about his future and where he hopes to be, but he does not think he is that far off now.

“Skill-wise, I’m there now, 100 percent,” said Whittaker. “But I want these little steps where I want a bit of needle, the opponents are talking, there’s a belt on the line, it’s a big stadium fight. For me, that’s what you kind of need in your career, and ticking off those experiences. We will be ready for those guys.”

And he has a target on his back already. It seems inevitable that he could meet Southampton’s Lewis Edmondson (9-0, 3 KOs), with their paths crossing already several times on the same shows.

“With the following [I’ve built], they all want to fight me,” Whittaker said. “Why me? I haven’t got anything. I’m seven fights in. But he knows if he called me, it gives him an opportunity, and that’s the same with Lewis.”

Whittaker is growing rapidly, although he is still, just about, in a position where he could go down in weight if he felt it was necessary. But inevitably, in time, he will move north to cruiserweight.

“If I really, really needed to, I could make 168, super middle,” said the 6-foot-3 Whittaker. “But eventually, I think the way I’m growing, the way I’m built, I could eventually go to cruiserweight.”

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