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Ben Whittaker hailed by boxing fans as 'the best entertainment since Prince Naseem' as he splits opinion during showboat win over Khalid Graidia… but critics fume that his 360 spin is 'embarrassing'

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  • The 26-year-old split opinion with his latest dominant victory at Wembley
  • Ben Whittaker starred as he entertained in his stoppage win over Khalid Graidia
  • Referee Sean McAvoy gave Whittaker a formal warning during the encounter

Ben Whittaker’s weekend victory over Khalid Graidia has split opinions amongst boxing fans with some hailing his showboat style for providing entertainment, while others weren’t impressed.

The 26-year-old looked completely at ease as he dominated the light-heavyweight encounter at Wembley and secured a fifth-round stoppage victory.

The former Olympic silver medallist enjoyed himself  as he produced a mixture of highlights – most notably a 360 degree spin that ended with him being told off.

Other eye-catching moments saw Whittaker dance, wobble on his feet and hop around the ring on one leg while waving to the crowd.

Referee Sean McAvoy fumed as he sought to put an end to the display of confidence that started after Whittaker dropped Graidia in the second round, but the Englishman described his style as ‘just my art’.

Ben Whittaker has split opinion amongst boxing supporters after he put on a display of confidence against Khalid Graidia on Saturday

Ben Whittaker has split opinion amongst boxing supporters after he put on a display of confidence against Khalid Graidia on Saturday

Whittaker eased to victory with a fifth-round stoppage over his opponent at Wembley

Whittaker eased to victory with a fifth-round stoppage over his opponent at Wembley

Whittaker was given a formal warning by referee Sean McAvoy for showboating during the fight

Whittaker was given a formal warning by referee Sean McAvoy for showboating during the fight

Reaction inside Wembley was split between supporters enjoying the brazen boxing display. Some attempted to discourage the display with boos from the stands, while some cheered and social media was awash with further contrasting views.

One comment on X read: ‘Love him or hate him. He’s totally got talent. Why do we need to choose? Let’s just get behind him.’

Another post drew comparison between Whittaker’s showmanship and former featherweight world champion Prince Naseem who entertained in similar fashion, stating: ‘Love the confidence and showmanship but don’t overdo it or they’ll struggle to make meaningful fights going forward that said best entertainment since Naz was around.’

However, others criticised his manner of victory with one comment reading: ‘Sorry if people are loving this behaviour they’re not boxing fans…he’s making a mockery of the sport its embarrassing.’

Another X user said:  ‘Whittaker clearly has ability but needs to show respect to his opponent in the ring as well as out of it. I like showboating as much as the next man, but it needs to be done with class.’

Some supporters have compared Whittaker's style to former featherweight superstar Prince Naseem (pictured)

Some supporters have compared Whittaker’s style to former featherweight superstar Prince Naseem (pictured)

The fight was paused during one moment in the fight that resulted in Whittaker being pulled into his corner by the referee and issued with a formal warning.

Explaining his performance after the bout, he told Sky Sports: ‘Do you know what it is? I can dance, I can shimmy, but I broke him down in a jiffy.

‘I was going through the motions, looked at my dad and he was a bit annoyed, so I said ‘alright, let me show you what I can do’ and I got the job done.’ 

‘Don’t take the showboating as disrespect, it’s just my art. People can compare me to Prince Naseem but I am Ben Whittaker.’