16.12.04 - Bradford’s Junior Witter will defend his European light welterweight title against Italy’s Gianluca Branco in a sensational showdown that effectively doubles as a world title eliminator. It will take place early next year and be promoted by Hennessy Sports following their successful purse bid for the contest in Rome on the 9th December..
“This again vindicates my decision to move to Hennessy Sports,” said Junior on hearing on the news.
“I truly have a promoter who is serious about my career.
“Since joining Mick Hennessy’s team I have won and defended the European title – a genuine title – on the BBC.
“Now I am featuring in a world-class old school tussle for the biggest purse of my career. Even bigger than when I fought Zab Judah for the IBF title.”
He added: “This is all part of Hennessy Sports policy of doing things the traditional way.
“I have won British, Commonwealth and European honours. With this fight I now have the chance to complete the set by lining up a shot at a genuine world title.
“WBC champion Arturo Gatti is facing WBC ranked #1 Floyd Mayweather early next summer.
“Me and Branco are ranked 3 and 2 respectively.
“Winner should meet winner. I know I am going to figure in that shakedown with Hennessy Sports behind me.”
Witter – who has won his last 15 fights inside the distance, with only three going past the third round – knows he will have to be at his best to get past the Italian.
“Branco is a world class operator,” he added.
“He has held his national and European titles and already fought for the WBC title when he met Arturo Gatti earlier this year.
“That is his only defeat on a 36 fight record and that only came on points after a close fight.
“That means I am in for a tough night, but I won’t duck any challenge to prove I am the best at 140lb in the world.
“I will become the first person to knock Branco out before going on to beat either Gatti or Mayweather, whichever it takes, to claim the WBC world title.”