By Ian S Palmer
When Canadian boxer Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool puts his mind to something, it’s almost impossible to stop him. Vanderpool ended his seven-year retirement last September to return to the ring and earned a six-round unanimous decision over 30-year-old Phil Rose. That was quite an accomplishment, but when you consider Vanderpool is now 45 years-old, it made the achievement even more impressive.
He didn’t stop there though. The veteran boxer decided he might as well carry on to see if he could add to his collection of Canadian title belts and challenged 28-year-old Roberto McLellan of Williams Lake, British Columbia for the vacant National Boxing Authority middleweight title.
The bout took place at the Lions Club in Moncton, New Brunswick on Mar 2 with Vanderpool of Kitchener, Ontario claiming the crown with a unanimous 10-round victory. McLellan got off to a pretty good start and used his footwork and speed to keep away from Vanderpool. However, the former WBF World Jr. Middleweight Champion picked up the pace to take over the rest of the way and landed the harder shots.
When the bout ended he became a five-time Canadian boxing champion as the judges’ scorecards read 99-01, 97-93, and 96-94. With the win, Vanderpool’s pro record rose to 27-7-4 with 13 Kos while McClellan’s fell to 6-2-1 with 2 Kos. Ironically, Vanderpool was originally scheduled to meet 26-year-old Stuart McLellan (8-0-3) but he had to pull out of the title bout due to an injury and his older brother Roberto stood in for him. The older McLellan also gave up his Canadian Boxing Council championship to take the fight.
Vanderpool said he still wants to carry on and is hoping he’ll be able to defend his new belt later this year in Toronto, close to his Kitchener home. Vanderpool said it didn’t matter to him which McLellan he faced and said that his age doesn’t concern him, so he can’t really understand why others are concerned about it. He stated that a lot of people are saying he’s too old for pro boxing, but he’s hard to stop when he dedicated himself to something.
He added that it’s quite common for boxers to lose their speed before their power, but he feels he’s still as fast as he ever was and that was actually the deciding factor when he decided to return to the ring last year. Vanderpool said he hopes that his title win will inspire younger boxers, especially those in his home region. He spends a lot of time with up-and-coming amateur boxers as he operates the The Whip Boxing Academy in Kitchener and frequently helps troubled youths.
Vanderpool turned pro back in 1993 won his first title back in 1996 when he won the Canadian welterweight crown by stopping Tony Badea in the sixth round. He retired from the sport in 2005 after being stopped in the first round by Marcos Antonio Avendano. Along the way he’s faced the likes of Marco Antonio Rubio, Charles Murray, Fernando Vargas, Stephan Johnson, Bryon Mackie, Hercules Kyvelos, and Ray Oliveira. He stopped Johnson in the 11th round in Toronto in 1999 to win the WBF world title.