'It's a statement' - Wardley wipes out Webb to retain English title
- Credit: ©Ian Walton Matchroom Boxing
Suffolk's Fabio Wardley defended his English heavyweight title in dramatic fashion last night, stopping opponent Nick Webb in the very first round.
Wardley (now 12-0, 11KO) was defending his belt for the first time against the more-experienced Webb (now 17-3, 13KO) at Matchroom Boxing's Fight Camp event.
And he needed less than three minutes to deliver the victory and make it 11 straight stoppages, dropping Webb with a flurry of punches which left the referee with no choice but to step in.
Again, as in his last fight against two-time world title challenger Eric Molina, Wardley had to show fortitude - Webb came out aggressive and landed a couple of good shots early on, pushing Wardley back.
But midway through the round the Suffolk puncher turned his man nicely on the ropes and promptly turned the tables, landing a huge body shot and then whipping in his trademark heavy hooks.
Wardley said: "It was good to get the finish. I took a few punches on the way in. It wasn't the cleanest of finishes of knockouts or performances, but sometimes you've just got to go in there and get the job done and that's what tonight was all about.
"I knew he'd come out fast and we had two options - pick him apart for a couple of rounds or get stuck in and all the way in the build up we were saying 'box and move, box and move for a couple of rounds, let him settle.'
- 1 Tankers on their way to Suffolk as the government unveils action plan
- 2 Lorry overturns after crashing into office building - warning over delays
- 3 The 72 postcode areas where Covid infection rates are rising
- 4 Seven spots to visit on the Suffolk Coast this autumn
- 5 Lorry drivers being offered up to £60,000 and other bonuses as shortage bites
- 6 'Outstanding' former Ipswich teachers leave £2million to charities in will
- 7 Louis Theroux documentary on White House Farm murder premieres tonight
- 8 Church brings a new Hope to former Ipswich Odeon cinema
- 9 More Suffolk petrol stations closed as PM plans action
- 10 North Stander: Bonne's becoming a Blues icon - now we have to start winning
"But once I got in there I thought you know what, a bit of ego came into me and I thought 'I'm not having you bully me around this ring, I'm going to let you know that I'm here.'
"And it's not just a statement to Nick Webb, it's a statement to other heavyweights as well - he can come in, a big 18 stone fella, and I can still get him out of there all the same."
With the win, Wardley is likely to relinquish his title belt and go in search of loftier goals - a fight with friend and fellow top prospect Nathan Gorman (18-1, 12KO) is very much in the works for the British title next year. It could even be the pair trade punches for the British, European and Commonwealth belts.
Asked what's next, he said: "We just keep moving, the Wardley train keeps rolling.
"I had a good performance in Eric Molina, a good knock-out here so we're not getting too carried away, we're still moving at a good pace, but nothing crazy.
"Just keep moving, hopefully pick up that British title sometime soon and we'll go from there."
The Webb win is just the latest step in a mercurial rise for Wardley, who turned pro after just four white collar fights, with no amateur experience, and yet now stands as one of the top heavyweight talents in the country.
So, how good can he be?
"The sky's the limit," he said. "I had four white collar fights and that was it. Whereas a lot of people got to learn in their ABA careers, I'm doing mine in front of thousands of people at ringside and millions of people watching at home.
"So I'm doing my learning on the fly, but it doesn't matter - I can keep moving."
Wardley's spectacular KO wasn't his only reason for celebration on Saturday either - his mate and fellow former Chantry High School pupil Macauley Bonne was on the scoresheet for Ipswich Town in their 2-2 draw with Morecambe.
And Wardley, a former Town academy player who wears blue and white shorts in the ring, said: "Town didn't get the win, a 2-2 draw, we'll take it - as long as Bonne got the goal and I got the win, I'll take that.
"Two Chantry boys just representing for the town. I love it."