Dubai: At 1.98 metres tall, and with a distinctive gleaming white smile, Shakan Pitters stands out in a crowd.
However, in the boxing ring, it is his winning style and smooth skills that really set him apart.
Five knock downs saw him emerge as an emphatic winner of the Ultimate Boxxer II, a one-night elimination tournament featuring eight highly rated contenders, last year.
That performance, where he was the only fighter not to suffer a knock down himself, has marked him out as a boxer to watch.
Pitters shocked favourite Dec Spelman in the final to become an overnight British boxing sensation.
Now, as he prepares to resume his rivalry with Spelman in the light heavyweight division, when the two power-punches face-off on the Frank Warren Show on September 17 for the English title, Pitters (four Kos) is using Dubai’s Real Boxing Only Gym to do his home work.
“The weather is great for my training, it is hot, humid and makes the process of getting my weight down a lot easier,” said Pitters following a training session with head coach Paul Counihan, pad man Louie Counihan, and stablemate Ryan Kelly.
“The scenery — the sun and the sea — make a great landscape for my mental process during hard training camps. And with the access to quality food and facilities at my sponsor gym, Real Boxing Only, makes this camp highly invigorating and motivational.
“Probably my best camp yet, and one of my hardest as well — as it is my first ten round fight and my first title fight, I can’t let any second be wasted while in camp.”
Michelle Kuehn, managing director of Real Boxing Only gym, where Shakan trains while in Dubai, commented: “We have seen an influx of high level, elite athletes making their way into our doors for two reasons: our facilities and city [Dubai] are made for a comfortable camp with all the right tools easily accessible and, the weather!
“Boxers thrive in this sunny environment.”
Although his father was a professional boxer, Shakan was a footballer in his younger years and showed little interest in boxing until he was disappointingly cut from the West Brom youth squad at the age of 15. Destiny was obviously steering him in the right direction, as with his natural talent, work ethic and impressive size — Shakan is sure to make an impact in the Light Heavyweight division over the next few years.