New Ipswich heavyweight Fabio Wardley ready to make professional bow
- Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller
Standing in the boxing ring, new Ipswich heavyweight, Fabio Wardley, feels like he belongs.
The 22-year-old makes his professional debut - thus becoming Ipswich’s only current pro boxer – at The Halls in Norwich, on Friday, having signed with Mervyn Turner’s Shamrock Boxing Promotions.
That’s not to say that boxing was Wardley’s dream from a young age, the former Chantry High School pupil almost stumbling across the sport.
He began on the White Collar Boxing scheme and quickly made an impact, so much so that 2015 was supposed to be his breakthrough year in the pro ranks.
However, a number of proposed bouts, under a former promoter, fell through and almost convinced him to hang up his gloves for good.
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“When I got into boxing, it was because I enjoyed it and it was something to do, but it progressed from there,” explains Wardley, speaking at Martlesham-based Suffolk Punch Boxing Club, which is housed at Grange Fitness and Performance Centre.
“I had a few White Collar fights and they were going well, but it was just something I fell into.
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“I thought I would like to go somewhere with it, but the actual notion of being a professional and making the switch to being a pro, wasn’t something I had a gameplan for.”
Wardley, who only took up the sport two years ago, is a tall, lean figure, very much in the infancy of his career.
His trainer, Rob Hodgins, believes the youngster will eventually settle for boxing at cruiserweight, but Wardley knows his own mind.
“In heavyweight and boxing terms I am quite young, so I can fill out, put a bit of weight on and find my feet. That’s definitely the route I want to go down,” he added.
“Before boxing it was football on Saturdays and Sundays, but I got a bit bored and had a period where I didn’t do anything in general.
“I knew Rob previously and he invited me to come down (to the gym) and do what I wanted and it went from there quite quickly.
“I always enjoyed football and played for a number of years, but I didn’t have that passion for it.
“In boxing, I am absolutely raring to go every day, waking up every morning, planning what I was going to do in the gym.”
Wardley belongs to a stable including the Walsh brothers, Liam and Ryan, and former Commonwealth heavyweight title holder, Sam Sexton, who Wardley has already sparred with.
“Sam’s a good person to spar with and it’s nice to have someone like that within the camp that I can learn from and pick things up from,” enthused Wardley.
“I have got so much to learn and there is a massive gap in the transition between white collar boxing and the professional boxing ranks.
“I have jumped in at the deep end a little but I am learning as I go and working with some experienced people.”
Describing himself as an orthodox fighter with a slightly unorthodox style, Wardley is entering a weight category that has suffered its fair share of knocks over recent months and years.
“I just want to get through this year, get five or six fights under my belt, obviously all wins, and then look next year at regional title level and plan what we are going to go for,” he explained.
“It’s an exciting time for the heavyweight division though. There was a period when the Klitschko brothers reined over it and it was quiet for five or six years – there was not a lot going on.
“Now, with the new influx of heavyweight coming through – Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder – they all add something new.
“The whole heavyweight scene is quite busy and there are a lot up-and-coming talent which bodes well for me.
“There are so many different boxers around now, all having different things to offer.”
And what does Wardley offer in the ring?
“I fight orthodox, but my style is quite unorthodox for a heavyweight.
“I move around quite a bit, I am not too slow and ploddy, and like to keep my hands quite low, which annoys my trainer at times!
“I like to bounce around the ring, rather than stand there and trade it out.
“It seems to be going quite well so far.”
TICKETS for the event in Norwich on Friday can be purchased through the box office on 07951 021813 or by going online to www.shamrockboxing.co.uk