Shropshire Star

Telford product Ryan Whitehead ready to take his shot at Midlands glory

Ryan Whitehead – a product of the tough Donnington, Telford, gym that spawned Liam Davies – has clinched a title fight of his own.


The 29-year-old will face Birmingham’s Jarrett Doherty at Dudley Town Hall for the vacant Midlands super-middle title on June 10.

The opportunity comes for both men after only a handful of contests. Whitehead, a personal trainer by day, has won all four since turning over in 2020. He’s fought no further than six rounds and has travelled that distance only once.

Doherty, aged 33, has the edge in experience, with six contests under his belt. But, unlike Whitehead, he’s twice tasted defeat. Back in 2018, Corey Jackson knocked him out in three.

There’s a lot to like about Whitehead. He’s tough – as is expected from a Donnington fighter, fit as a flea, hits with authority and has a superb engine. To date, his chin has proved sturdy.

In short, he’s a handful.

As a Donnington amateur, Whitehead gathered a record of 11 wins in 20 contest. Ominously, he won nine of his last 10 unpaid bouts, which shows Whitehead is a work in progress.

Like good wine, the father-of-three appears to be getting better with age.

And Whitehead is positively buzzing over the title opportunity.

“I really believe everything is coming together at the right time,” he said. “I’m oozing confidence.

“I’ve kept the weight down after my last fight (a six rounds points win last March) because I knew this opportunity could be coming.

“My weight is good, I’m sparring six and eight rounders all the time. I feel really, really good. I’ve got a nutritionist on board and a new strength coach in Jordan Hanson. I’m eating so much food because my weight is good.

“I’ve sparred Jarrett before. He’s a ‘punch and move’ boxer, I’m a ‘get stuck in’ type, so the styles are there for a really good fight.

“I think the longer distance will suit me. Sparring eight rounds, I feel I get better the longer it goes. I have a lot of self-belief in my fitness. I work as a personal trainer and for this fight, I’ve taken more time off to get ready. I’ve taken a pay cut in terms of clients.

“I just feel I’m getting better all the time. In sparring, I’m getting better all the time. I’m always working on any criticism I get. I know I’m fit enough to do 10 rounds standing on my head.”

He added: “I don’t believe in ‘tick-over’ fights (the routine, mark time outings against journeymen). I’m at my best with live fights.”

Whitehead has certainly got a live fight on June 10 and victory will open the door for much bigger things.

He’s a man burning with ambition – and it will take a very, very good boxer to derail those dreams.