'I just want to fight again' – heavyweight prospect Wardley on frustrating 2018, and sparring Usyk
Copyright Photos by Sara 2017
Suffolk heavyweight boxing prospect Fabio Wardley will be looking to make up for lost time next year, after a frustrating 2018 which has seen him struggle to find fights.
The 23-year-old is 4-0 as a professional, with three straight first round stoppages, but hasn’t fought since demolishing Ferenc Zsalek at the Corn Exchange in Ipswich back in May.
Since then the crowd-pleasing Ipswich puncher, now a full-time fighter, has seen two fights fall through – one on the day of the dust-up – and feels like he’s fallen behind fellow prospects schooled in the sweet science.
“I’m hoping to get out again before the end of this year,” he said. “I’m still young, so time is on my side, but it is frustrating.
“The comparison I use is Daniel DuBois, because we made our debuts on the same day. I’m 4-0 and he’s 9-0, so that puts things into perspective.
“All my goals have had to be pushed back – I wanted the area title by the end of the year, or early next, but that’s not going to be possible now.
“I just want to get out there and have a fight again and start to build up some ranking points. This time next year, I want my record to have doubled to 8-0 or 9-0, and have the Southern Area title by then, or at least lined up. Then from there get to 10-0 and start looking at more serious matters.”
What Wardley definitely hasn’t struggled with, however, is sparring. The ex-Chantry High pupil has mixed it with the aforementioned DuBois, ex-British champ Sam Sexton, top tier heavies Dereck Chisora and Dillian Whyte and the lineal heavyweight king Tyson Fury.
And he’s just returned from two weeks in the Ukraine, where he shared a ring with undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk ahead of his massive clash with Tony Bellew this Saturday.
“It was fantastic,” said Wardley. “The sparring was really good, and there was no attitude about him at all. Him being a southpaw was a massive learning curve for me and on top of that he’s technically great as well – you have to think about where you’re moving and how.
“I move quite well too, but when I’d do things that usually confuse people, he’d move and be right there with me.
“It was a really good experience seeing someone like that training for a fight of this magnitude – he was doing 15 or 16 rounds at a time, which was mental.
“Before I sparred him, I was going for Usyk to beat Bellew on points, and probably even more so now, because I’ve seen it first hand.
“He doesn’t seem to run out of energy – his punch rate and work doesn’t drop.
“I don’t know how Tony can counteract that, unless he lands a big shot.”