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Legendary fighter Pernell Whitaker dies, aged 55

R.I.P: Boxer Pernell Whitaker died in a car accident on Jul 14

AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL boxer Pernell Whitaker, affectionately nicknamed by his fans as “Sweet Pea”, was hit at an intersection on Virgina Beach at 10.04pm on Sunday night (Jul 14). Local police reported he died at the scene.

The driver of the vehicle was unknown and the incident remains under investigation.

Throughout his professional career, Whitaker was known for his outstanding defensive skills and strong counterpunch.

The American southpaw was first introduced to the mainstream sports scene after winning an Olympic gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

He then went on to become a four-weight world champion as a professional, winning lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight titles.

In 1989, Whitaker was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxers Writers Association of America - a title which had previously been held by the great Julio Cesar Chavez and since been held by former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

The legendary fighter retired in 2001 and dedicated his life to training upcoming boxing professionals.

Whitaker's daughter Dominique has said: ”I want to inform people that today we lost a legend, truly one of boxing's greatest pound-for-pound champions, my father Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker.”

Since the announcement of his death, tributes to Whitaker have circulated across social media.

Former heavyweight champion David Haye told Sky News: "He will always be known as one of the greatest defensive fighters.”

ESPN broadcaster and former HBO Boxing commentator Max Kellerman said: “The best lightweight I ever saw passed away today. Yes, that includes Roberto Duran, Floyd Mayweather, Ike Williams, and anyone else you want to mention. RIP Pernell Whitaker.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “Rest in eternal peace Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker – IMO the greatest defensive fighter of all time.”

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