‘I’m a force to be reckoned with’ - Suffolk star Wardley lifts English title with spectacular stoppage
- Credit: Mark Robinson
Ipswich boxer Fabio Wardley lifted the English heavyweight title with a brilliant third round stoppage of Simon Vallily at the historic Matchroom Fight Camp in Essex last night.
Wardley, facing the stiffest test of his career so far, dominated former Commonwealth Games gold medalist Vallily from the off before rocking him with a huge counter left hook in the third stanza, following him to the ropes and blitzing him with bombs to force the referee to step in and save his stricken foe.
Wardley (now 9-0, 8KO), established himself in the fight from the opening bell, flashing a rapid jab, which he often doubled up, and good body work in the first two rounds, before unleashing the heavy hands which have made him such a hot prospect.
Vallily (now 17-3-1) was certainly Wardley’s biggest challenge to date - a fighter with an impressive amateur pedigree and far greater professional experience than the Suffolk stylist, who came through the white collar route before turning pro.
But Chantry boy Wardley, 25, a former Ipswich Town academy player, passed the test with flying colours, and in doing so becomes one of just a handful of fighters from Suffolk to have lifted a major title.
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Former world title challenger David Starie, from Bury St Edmunds, held both British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles in the late 90’s and early 00’s, while Ipswich’s Steve Spartacus claimed the English light heavyweight crown in 2003.
Wardley said: “English heavyweight champion sounds a bit crazy if I’m honest, coming from where I’ve come from and the background in boxing that I’ve had.
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“It’s just proof to the point that if you want to put your mind to something, if you want to dedicate yourself to something, you can get to wherever you want to get to.
“And this is just one step of many. It was my first big test, my first real analysis of where I am in the division and how high you rank me, but I think I put on a pretty good performance there, there’s not much you can mark up that was too wrong with it, and I’ve shown people now that I’m a force to be reckoned with - I’m there, I’m genuine and I’m a real contender.”
Of the fight, he added: “I went back to the corner at the end of the second round and said to my team ‘I know where the gaps are now, I know what to do and I’m going in for the kill.’
“A minute and a bit later, it was there. I probably compliment the left hook to my team, it’s something we’ve been working on a lot, that catch counter left hook.
“Once I saw him stumble that was it, maximum violence all the way.”
Of winning the title. he said: “It’s massive, not just for me, but for people in my area, it’s not known for a big boxing pedigree or background, and it’s an area that’s been quite quiet on the boxing front.”
Wardley, who stands 6ft 5ins and boasts the unusual heavyweight combination of lightning speed, good movement and power punching, now becomes one of the top big men in the country, and will be watching the likes of Daniel DuBois and Joe Joyce – who meet later this year in an all-British blockbuster – ever more closely in the coming months and years.
And Matchroom Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn was certainly impressed, singing Wardley’s praises post fight and tweeting to Dillian Whye - Wardley’s manager, and world class heavyweight himself - that “You might have one there.”
He added: “I think that he now starts to move into those brackets of the Joyces and the Dubois. He’s got some work to do, English heavyweight champion, but he’s a couple of fights away from that now, but I think we’ve got a great new contender on the British heavyweight scene.
“He’s exciting, he looks great, he talks well and he’s handsome as well.
“It’s exciting, especially coming from that part of Britain - let’s be honest, over the years East Anglia hasn’t produced a number of great heavyweights. I think there’s a great little division and area of the country that can support him there, and I think the public can get behind him as well.
“It’s always great when we see a young British heavyweight come on the scene.”