AS amateurs, Jason Whateley and Daniel Lewis shared the common goal of a podium finish at the Olympics.
Having ditched their vests for professional glory, it comes as little surprise that the career trajectory of both Whateley (7-0, 6 KOs) and Lewis (6-0, 4 KOs) has travelled at the same rate.
Despite being in different divisions and living in separate states, it’s the mutual mindset of being ‘all in’ that has allowed the pair to develop so quickly, according to promoter Will Tomlinson.
“I was lucky enough to be working with Jason when he was an already established and skilled boxer,” he told Aus-Boxing.
“Jason came from a really good amateur background and I’ve always seen a lot of potential with him. This also comes with the confidence to be able to progress him quicker than usual.
“I think this is a necessity, which is no different to the way Daniel Lewis has been pushed along by his team.
“When it comes to how they’ve been brought up as professionals, a lot of fighters could learn a thing or two from both Jason and Daniel. These sink or swim opportunities, where their back is against the wall, that’s how you get the best out of your fighters. ”
The 29-year-old Whateley challenges for a pair of IBF and WBO affiliated regional crowns against Ben Kelleher (13-1-2, 4 KOs) on March 28th, signalling his intent to reach world level opposition in the immediate future.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Lewis competes on the world stage in a matter of weeks, risking his unbeaten record against blue-chip American prospect Sebastian Fundora on a looming pay-per-view card, topped by heavyweight kingpins Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
The willingness to test themselves at such an early stage is often an earmark for success, as Tomlinson explains, citing his high-profile win over Verquan Kimbrough at a similar stage in his professional career.
“I experienced the same with myself, fighting a slick American like Verquan Kimbrough, which felt like I was being set up,” he revealed.
“I went into that fight and learnt a lot about myself on the back of it. In these instances, you learn so much about yourself, especially in those scary situations and you’re a better fighter because of it.
“The common denominator between all those fighters, regardless of who they are, is self-belief. This is such an important value to carry with you as a professional.”
As the interest around the blockbuster clash between former welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn and unbeaten star Tim Tszyu has shown, there is an appetite for domestic clashes on a national scale.
The former super featherweight titleholder, who is thriving in his career rebirth as a promoter, believes there are a myriad of local clashes to make if all parties involved are willing to come to the table.
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Our First show for 2020.. RND5 March 28th at The Melbourne Pavilion. Our Main Event is Jason Whateley VS Ben Kelleher for the IBF Pan Pac and WBO Asia Pac Cruiserweight titles. Don’t miss out! Tickets will sell fast! Link in bio…. . . #stylesmakefights #wildfighter #australia #melbourne #boxing #fighter #fightnight #training #action #fight #gym #gymlife #gym #fit #fitness #nutrition #athlete
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“In my opinion, a lot of managers and trainers protect their fighters too much,” he explained.
“You see this with easy wins and flying in imports, which doesn’t develop them skill-wise, or even with their profile. Those types of fights don’t generate local interest, which is a big missed opportunity for everyone.
“There’s a window where we can put on as many as local match-ups as possible, and that’s only going to be beneficial for everyone in this sport.”
An example offered by Tomlinson is a local clash between two unbeaten prospects, which will be televised to a live national audience later this month.
“A perfect instance of this is what Lynden Hosking has done with local fighters, which you’ll see on his next show between John Mannu and Josh Gottschalk,” he said.
“All of the fighters in Australia, they’ve got to clean out their backyard, quite literally, before claiming to be the best. Once that’s been proven, there’s nothing wrong with seeking those bigger fights overseas.”
As for his own events, the fifth instalment of WILDFIGHTER will signal an impressive debut year for Tomlinson, who has been in his new role for twelve months, almost to the day.
Despite the infancy of his promotional career, Tomlinson continues to showcase the next generation of Australian prospects, irrespective of their home state.
With his latest card fast approaching, Tomlinson is content with the calibre of athletes he’s secured this time around, including the likes of Terry Nickolas, Dana Coolwell and Aaron Spagnolo.
“It’s about setting a good platform, which I think my broadcast strategy through Facebook has shown,” he concluded.
“I’ve been doing my best to make sure fighters are compensated for their efforts and giving them an opportunity to stay busy. That’s what I feel like I’m doing. I’m consistent and this is clear by me putting on five cards in my first twelve months of promoting.
“There’s a lot of competition and I do know that there are other promoters, trainers, and fighters who see WILDFIGHTER as an emerging platform. A great case in point was Terry Nickolas.
“I was approached by his team to look at him as a fighter that I could potentially utilise. I saw this as a compliment as there were other options that his promoter and management could’ve used to promote their fighter.
”Looking at the next line-up of fighters that I’ve got, I’m very happy to have them. In the case of each and every one of them, I believe they’ve individually got the ability to go a long way.”