Fenech hails Whittaker our new No. 1
AUSTRALIAN boxing great Jeff Fenech says any promoter who encourages Anthony Mundine back into the ring should be jailed, adding: "Rob Whittaker's the guy who should be on our backpages now … he's the No. 1 fighter in this country".
A huge fan of Australia's first UFC champion, Fenech will be cageside this Sunday as Whittaker defends his middleweight title against American Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 in Melbourne.
The three-time world champ declared Whittaker had now surpassed the country's most hyped boxers of the past decade - including Mundine, Danny Green, Daniel Geale and Jeff Horn - to become the new face of combat sport Down Under.
Fenech also revealed his concern around whispers suggesting 43-year-old Mundine is in talks for another bout.
While the outspoken boxer retired after being knocked out in just 91 seconds by Horn at Suncorp Stadium last November, he has since backflipped and talked up a rematch.
Elsewhere, there are also suggestions the fighter with four losses from his past six outings could make a Melbourne comeback later this year, although not against Horn.
"But anyone who contributes to Anthony fighting should be jailed," Fenech said.
"They should be locked up and put behind bars.
"Because no disrespect to 'Choc', but he's gone. Done.
"And those people wanting to profit from him fighting again, will they still be beside him in 10 years time? Even in five years?
"Of course they won't."
Instead, Fenech insisted Whittaker was the exciting, new face of the nation's fight game.
Back in December, tickets for the Sydneysider's title fight sold out in just eight minutes - putting the humble Mt Annan slugger alongside the likes of Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Rolling Stones.
Better, the father-of-three is also on an unbeaten tear stretching almost five years and nine straight Octagon appearances.
"Best fighter in Australia right now," Fenech said of the slugger recently voted GQ Sportsman of the Year.
"Also, he doesn't go around acting like an idiot. Does disrespect opponents either.
"And you'd like to think being the world's best middleweight, that would be enough to get our attention.
"In my own career, I was blessed with the publicity I received. And I'd like to think more people are ready to watch Rob fight now too.
"I know there's a lot of exciting young boxers progressing through the ranks.
"And all credit to Jeff Horn for taking Manny Pacquiao to a place he hadn't been in a very, very long time.
"But Rob has to be our top guy because, right now, he's beating everyone in the UFC. And there's never an easy fights when you have that UFC belt".
Apart from being a huge fan of Whittaker's fight style, Fenech also mentored the 28-year-old's striking coach Justin Fitzgerald.
"And I love what they're doing together," he said. "Whoever they throw him up against, Rob just keeps winning.
"I can't wait to watch him again this weekend."
Go to mainevent.com.au to order UFC 234 featuring Robert Whittaker v Kelvin Gastelum