Prince Badi Ajamu and Derrick Webster after a sparring session in camp.
Super middleweight Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster (23-1, 12 KOs) will be seeking his third win of 2017 when he returns to the ring on Saturday night at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. Standing opposite Webster will be battle-tested veteran Lamar Harris, a veteran of 26 professional bouts.
“I don’t really know anything about my opponent,” Webster stated. The one thing I do know is he’s fighting Take it to the Bank. We appreciate him taking the fight, and this is nothing personal. However, I plan on frustrating him, breaking him down and getting his ass out of there.”
Boardwalk Brawls, which is being hosted by Mis Downing Promotions in association with Roy Jones Jr. Square Ring Promotions, will also feature the return of former world title challenger Prince Badi Ajamu (27-3-1, 15 KOs), a man who has helped groom Webster for years alongside his head trainer Denny Brown.
“I’ve been trying to get Prince to fight for the last few years because he’s always been consistently in the gym,” Webster remarked. “He was always my main sparring partner, and I would always tell him his skill set is still so high that he could be a problem for any of these light heavyweights or cruiserweights. It’s funny because boxing him is education. I try to do to him what he does to me, and then when I fight guys on my level, he becomes more of a coach than a sparring partner. Certain things he tells me to do, it’s easy for me to emulate in the ring because I spend so much time inside the ring with him. Working with him and being hands-on with him has provided me with a lot of boxing education.”
Two other local fighters with whom Webster has been working are heavyweight Khalib “Bigfoot” Whitmore and two-time cruiserweight world champion Steve Cunningham, who has also been campaigning as a heavyweight for the past five years. With a 30-plus pound weight differential, Webster has used their size and pressure to make sure he is the best version of himself on Saturday night.
“When I first came to the gym, they were waiting for me,” Webster said of Whitmore and Cunningham. “When I pulled up, I was feeling a little discouraged. Not discouraged because I didn’t believe in myself, but more so because of some things I was dealing with in my personal life. Before we started, my trainer Denny Brown pulled me to the side and shook me up. He mentally got me back to where I needed to be.
“Sparring with Bigfoot first, I was amazed by his hand speed, considering the size he is. His hand speed and footwork is really good. After that, I boxed Steve Cunningham, who is someone I spent a lot of time with on the set of Creed. I was comfortable with him just from that alone. When they came back a second time, the competition was better on both sides. They mentally put me back in the mindset of the fight. I knew if I could handle the pressure, speed and dynamics of these guys, there is nothing that someone on my level can do with me. I’m actually dedicating this fight to Bigfoot and Steve Cunningham, as well as another guy in Brandon Robinson, who also helped me get ready for this fight. Brandon is a great puncher, and his pressure is really solid. He was my last sparring session, and he pushed me to the limits. He’s like a little brother to me, and I’ve become a big fan of his. I love to see him inside the ring.”
One thing that has been benefitting Webster of late is his consistent activity. A boxer who has historically had problems with getting fights due to his incredible attributes, Webster is fighting for the fifth time in just over a year, and he is coming off a seven-round destruction of Frankie Filippone in Pennsylvania this past May.
“I’ve become such a student of this game that I realized there are certain things you don’t need in your life anymore,” he reflected. “When you allow people to have a hold on you and control parts of your career, they also get to dictate how well you perform in the ring. By now doing things on our own, I’ve been more active, which has allowed me to be a better Derrick Webster because of that consistency of being in the ring. Now I’m feeling more comfortable, and everything seems slower to me. When I box now, I’m able to block out all of the distractions. I don’t hear those people outside of the ring anymore. I’m just focused and feel more at home in the ring right now. It’s like when you go home and kick your feet up, you’re relaxed and in full control. Similarly to that, I’m in control of the way that I move now in boxing. The more that I’m in the ring, the better a version of Derrick Webster that the crowd will see. I still have people talking to me about the last fight, which is amazing. Usually, people forget about the fight the next day. The fact that people are still talking about that fight means so much to me. I’ve been wanting this type of consistency, and that’s what has helped me perform the way I am right now.”
Doors open at the Claridge Hotel at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday night, with the first bout occurring at 7:00 p.m. Make sure that you are in the building for this incredible night of boxing!