Virginia boxing legend Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker dies in Virginia Beach accident

Nation & World News

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Police have identified the man hit and killed by a vehicle late Sunday night as local boxing legend Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.

Virginia Beach Police were called to the scene of the accident, near the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road, around 10 p.m.

Police investigate a deadly auto-pedestrian accident on July 14, 2019. WAVY Photo

They say Whitaker, 55, was located and it was determined he had succumbed to his injuries on the scene.

Police say the driver of the vehicle remained at the scene after the accident.

The westbound lanes of Northampton Boulevard were closed for over 3 hours while police investigated.


Champion Boxer

Whitaker was born and raised in Norfolk. He began his boxing career at the young age of nine. According to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, of which he is an inductee, Whitaker had 214 amateur fights during his career and won 201 of them. He was the lightweight silver medalist at the 1982 World Championships, earned a Gold Medal at the 1983 PAN American Games and was a gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics. He turned pro in 1984 at Madison Square Garden.

After his retirement from the sport in 2001, Whitaker became a trainer.

In 2007, Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.


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