‘Exactly what we needed’ - Wardley on stopping tough foe Strunz, plus going viral for Five Guys question mid-fight
- Credit: PA
Suffolk heavyweight prospect Fabio Wardley came through the toughest test of his career with flying colours at the O2 Arena on Saturday, stopping tough Argentinian Mariano Ruben Strunz in the sixth round.
Wardley, who fights out of the Suffolk Punch Boxing Club, improved his fledgling pro record to 8-0 (7KO), but was pushed for the first time in the paid ranks, with Strunz coming out aggressively in the first round.
The 24-year-old Suffolk stylist coped well and soon got on the front foot, using his movement and hand speed to push Strunz back and force him to shell up against the ropes for long periods.
He was still dangerous though, and caught Wardley with the hardest shots he's eaten as a pro, especially a couple of left hooks, before the heavy-handed former Chantry High School pupil moved up through the gears and dropped Strunz with a rapid flurry in the fifth.
That sucked all the fight out of the Argentinian and, after another barrage from Wardley saw him trapped on the ropes early in the sixth, the referee stepped in to call a halt to hostilities.
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The triumph means Wardley has now won seven in a row by stoppage, and he becomes just the second fighter to ever stop Strunz, in what was the longest bout of his career so far.
Wardley said: "It was good, it was the type of fight I needed and the type of fight me and my team were looking for, someone who was going to challenge me, someone that, when they do feel my power, doesn't back off and run and hide.
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"He put it on me and he caught me with some good shots and that's my own fault - I rushed this fight and I let my fans and my crowd get to me a bit, they wanted me to egg it on, so I rushed in a few times and got a few things wrong but I'm still a novice and I'm still learning, so it's no problem.
"He made me work for it, he threw some good shots and caught me a good few times so he was exactly what we needed and what we were looking for - a little step up, that bit more that I can take from this, learn and move on."
Wardley is now taking aim at titles - be it the Southern Area, English or IBO intercontinental.
He said: "That's what I've been going on about for a little bit of time now - some titles, some sort of belts, some silverware, something like that - that's what I need to move towards next and hopefully that's what's coming up."
Wardley also went viral on social media during the fight, as he asked chief cornerman Robert Hodgins "we going for Five Guys after?" during one of the breaks between rounds.
He laughed: "It's a running joke that I have with my team that midway through I talk about something completely different with the fight - it helps us all, it settles us all, so yeah, it's good!"