Waterloo Region World Champion Boxer Marks 10th Anniversary of Victory!
Waterloo Region, ON, April 8, 2009
It was ten years ago, on April 14th, 1999, that Kitchener's 31-year-old Fitz The Whip' Vanderpool was standing in the ring at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, being crowned the WBF Super Welterweight World Champion. He had just beaten Stephan Johnson to claim the vacant belt. "It was a victory that had me behind on all the scorecards and the only way to win was by a knockout. I achieved the impossible and won by a knock out! My four brothers and I all dreamt of becoming a world champion - and I was the one who finally did it. It is the greatest feeling hearing your name called out as a world champion." Fitz went on to successfully defend his WBF World Championship twice. It was one of five belts he had won.
This victory was the culmination of a meteoric career. On April 6th 1996 Fitz Vanderpool was Crowned Canadian Welterweight Champion - the first Professional Boxing Title for Kitchener in over 50 years. In 1997 Fitz won the W.B.F. Inter Continental Title and then took the W.B.C. Fecarbox Welterweight Title as well. The Whip' held 3 Championship titles simultaneously. Unable to defend them all at the same time, he relinquished two of the titles and held on to the Canadian Title - holding it for over 3 years, becoming one of Canada's most successful boxers.
He didn't do it completely alone. He remembers, with a catch in this throat, a man he calls Papa Joe - Joseph Hajnal Sr. - his amateur and pro boxing coach and trainer. "He believed in me and inspired me. He helped me to see my vision in the darkness and to keep my dream alive."
Fitz also took time to use his fame in positive ways for the community. In 1996 he was officially proclaimed an International Fire Safety Ambassador. In 1998 Fitz joined the board of directors of the International Fire Safety Ambassadors. And in 1999 Fitz was voted Kitchener Waterloo Civitans first ever Athlete of the Year.
Today, Fitz Vanderpool still has boxing in his blood. He owns and runs the Whip Boxing Academy, teaches boxing in high schools, trains up-and-coming young boxers, and gives as much back to his community as he is able. "I have accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in my boxing career. Boxing is a sport that teaches discipline, self confidence, and respect. My goal now is to show youngsters that they can be successful if they work hard and believe in themselves." He trains top athletes such as Mixed Martial Arts combatants and hockey players. He offers specialized FitBox for those who want to be in fighting shape, but don't want to step into the ring, and also offers one-on-one personal training. He even has his own special brand of boxing gear - Whip Gear. Fitz The Whip' Vanderpool is also available for speaking engagements on variety of topics.
A special dinner to celebrate Fitz The Whip' Vanderpool's historic victory will take place in June.