Boxer Ben Whittaker secures Olympic medal and proves pal Anthony Joshua right

British Olympic hope Ben Whittaker has secured himself a medal at the Tokyo games after beating Brazilian Keno Machado in a tense bout.

The fight was dead even through two rounds, with judges scoring it 19-19 on three cards, each fighter with one 20-18 card in their favour.

But a solid performance in the final round was enough to see Whittaker through, who will fight on Sunday for the chance to progress to the gold medal round.

Whittaker began showboating at the end of the final three-minute session, before dropping to his knees as the bell called time on the entertaining bout.

And he has big admirers back home – none more so than boxing royalty Anthony Joshua.

Talking to talkSPORT, Joshua heaped praise on his friend earlier this week.

“I was in training, I was about to start and I just saw Ben on the old FaceTime, so I thought I’ve gotta jump on and just give him his credit," he said live on air.

“He’s going all the way, he’s a real talent this one.”

When asked what chance he gives Whittaker of bringing back a medal, Joshua added: “I’d give him every medal, he’s much better than I was.

“He’s gonna go out there and do his thing, he’s very experienced.

“It’s just about the experience. The amateur system is like going to university or college, and then the pros is where you actually go to work.

“I feel like he’s got so much experience now, he’s got a great chance.

“Just do your best, that’s all you can do, Ben. Just do your best, have fun, it’s a great time in your life, so just have fun. That’s all you can do, that’s all I can ask for.”

Whittaker replied: “Me and AJ know each other well.

“What can I say? He’s always been one of my main supporters.

“I’ve got a few people backing me. Hopefully I can make him and a lot of other people proud.”

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