Fitzroy “Fitz The Whip” Vanderpool
Boxer (Retired) / Coach / Trainer / Owner / President, Vanderpool Boxing & Fitness, Kitchener, ON. Born: Trinidad & Tobago.
Fitzroy Vanderpool is a boxing champion who has won national and international boxing titles. During his professional career from 1993-2005, he had a record of 24 wins (13 by KO), 6 losses, and 4 draws, and became World Boxing Council Cabofe Champion (2002); Canadian Welterweight Champion (1996); World Boxing Federation Inter-Continental Champion (1997); World Boxing Council Fecarbox Champion, (1998); and World Boxing Federation World Champion (1999).
Background: In 1972, Fitz moved with his family from Trinidad & Tobago to Kitchener when he was five years-old. One of six boys, he trained as an amateur boxer with all of his brothers. In 1984 as a high school student, Fitz took a desperately needed break from the sport and instead, for the next four years, wrestled for Eastwood Collegiate Institute’s team under the tutelage of Walt Barnes. In 1989, Fitz started boxing again and while fighting out of the K-W Boxing Club, he acquired his coaching certification while still a boxer himself – something that was rare for a boxer to do.
In 1993, Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool was the reigning Canadian Amateur Light Welterweight Champion when he turned professional. He decided to follow his dream to become a world champion in the professional rank of boxing. Recognizing that turning pro would not be easy, he went to Goody Petronelli in Boston, Massachusetts to train. At the advanced age of 26 years, few people gave Fitz a chance of accomplishing his goal.
While boxing, Fitz compiled a record of 5 wins and 1 loss in 7 months; while having the burden of paying his living expenses from his life savings. He returned to Canada and bought out his own boxing contract from Goody Petronelli. He wasn’t discouraged because he believed in his ability and wanted to continue chasing his dream.
In September of 1993, Fitz and his coach Joe Hajnal Sr., a former Hungarian champion, began to work their way into the world of professional boxing. “The Whip” was determined to be the best, fighting whoever came along. The chance came with an opportunity to fight for the Canadian Welterweight Title. Though Fitz was only a junior welterweight, he accepted the challenge to showcase his talents against Tony “Bad Boy” Badea in Tony’s hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. Tony “Bad Boy” Badea was a big welterweight with a record of 13 wins, 0 losses – 10 being by KO. The first round was an awakening for “The Whip” as Tony knocked him down. From then on, Fitz’s determination and belief in himself gave him confidence – he rallied back to knock out Badea in the 6th round. On that day, April 6, 1996, his dream came true, Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool was crowned Canadian Welterweight Champion. It was the first professional boxing title brought back to Kitchener in over 50 years.
In 1997, Fitz won the World Boxing Federation Inter Continental title and continued to blaze a trail. He won the WBC Fecarbox Welterweight title as well, bringing those titles back to Kitchener to be proudly celebrated. Fitz “The Whip” held three championship titles at the same time. Unable to defend them all at once, he relinquished two of the titles and held on to the Canadian title, later defending it three times. He then went on to hold the Canadian title for over three years, becoming one of Canada’s most successful boxers.
Still based and fighting out of the local boxing gym in Kitchener, things were difficult for the champ but he learned, with hope it’s possible. A few years passed, he fought 21 fights as a professional, and had three more belts placed around his waist. Fitz became a sucessful boxer in Canada, but never got the recognition nor money that he deserved.
Continuing to be a high-profile role model and athlete in the community, Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool hosted the 1st annual Tri City Boxing Championship, “The Battle For The Belt,” in September 2001. It was the first event of its kind, featuring local up-and-coming boxing champions competing for the Tri City championship boxing belt. Its purpose, to help develop future young, talented boxers. Its goal, to get the kids fights, experience and exposure to further their careers.
In 2003, Fitz opened The Whip Boxing Academy in Kitchener to train youth and develop local boxing talent. There, Fitz runs fitness boxing programs, teaching the students fitness through boxing and inspiring them to be successful individuals.
Other: Has attended several schools to speak with kids about the importance of education and staying in school, setting realistic goals in life, and accomplishing them; he runs boxing fitness programs through high schools, teaching kids fitness and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through boxing;
Community: Fitz is a local hero and goodwill ambassador in the Kitchener-Waterloo area; supports several local causes including the International Fire Safety Ambassador, and the Ontario Alcohol and Drug Association.
Affiliation: Board of Directors, International Fire Safety Ambassadors.
Honours: Inducted into the Waterloo County Hall of Fame (2008); inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2 (2006); honoured for his accomplishments (Wall of Recognition) by Eastwood Collegiate Institute (2006); nominated as a Boxing Ontario Legends Ring of Fame finalist (2005); featured in Nike commercial with (Tour de France) record-holding champion, Lance Armstrong (2004); received Gerry Beckner Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fire Safety – the 3rd only recipient of this prestigious award (2003); Kitchener-Waterloo Inaugural Athlete of the Year (1999); named Canadian Boxer of the Year, Canadian Professional Boxing Federation (1997); proclaimed International Fire Safety Ambassador (1996).
Motto: Believe and achieve.
Favourite book? I like to read books that are inspirational and motivational.
Favourite quote? “With hope, it’s possible.”
Who inspires you? My son, Tremain, inspires me to be successful.
Why do you do what you do? It’s my passion for helping people and making a positive difference in their lives that drives me to do the things I do.