BEN WHITTAKER plans to become the Mayor of Wolverhampton by winning Olympic gold.
The Darlaston light-heavyweight booked his place in the semi-finals of Tokyo 2020 this morning with a narrow win over Brazil’s Keno Machado.
Whittaker, 24, is guaranteed at least a bronze medal but is hellbent on becoming the man of the town by bringing gold back to the West Midlands.
After getting past Machado, Whittaker said: “I knew this would be a hard fight.
“I am a confident, arrogant lad and I am not going to lie, this morning I felt a bit weird.
“My legs felt heavy and my stomach was twisting.
“But I listened to the corner and the tactics were great. It doesn’t matter whether it was a split or unanimous.
“Sunday is where it gets real now. I want to go back home with the gold medal and become the Mayor of Wolverhampton!
“I want one of those nice chains on my neck, calling all the shots.
“Everyone in Wolverhampton will have a nice ice grill and a nice big chain, courtesy of Ben Whittaker.”
Whittaker, a bronze medallist in the 2019 World Championships, was overcome with emotion after booking his place in the semis.
He said: “I have been crying like a baby.
“It was weird. Everyone has heard me for the last week and the last month saying a bronze is nothing, silver is nothing. I truly did mean that.
“But when the win came, I had a roar and a little celebration and then it hit me: ‘You know what you’ve done, Ben? You know what you’ve done?
“All those years I have watched the Olympics, all those years I have been in the gym with Olympians and they tell you their story.
“When it hits you, it is a weird feeling. The coaches say you are going to be on that wall in Sheffield.
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“I need a haircut now. I don’t want to be on there with messy hair!”
Standing between Whittaker and his dream of claiming Olympic gold is Russian Olympic Committee’s Imam Khataev, whom he’ll meet early on Sunday morning.
Should he get past the Russian, he will face either Bayram Malkan, Loren Dominguez, Arlen Lopez or Rogelio Torres in the final on Wednesday morning.