‘It’s going to be that real test moment’ - heavyweight Wardley relishing English title fight with Vallily
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Ipswich boxer Fabio Wardley is expecting the toughest test of his career when he fights Simon Vallily for the English heavyweight title in April - but he has no doubt that he will leave the ring with his hand raised.
Former Chantry High School pupil Wardley, 25, will meet Vallily at the Newcastle Arena on April 4, in what is both a big step up in class and the first opportunity for silverware in his unbeaten (8-0, 7KO) career so far.
In Vallily (17-2-1, 7KO) he faces a man with serious pedigree - he was the Commonwealth Games heavyweight gold medalist in 2010 - and experience. The 34-year-old has had 20 pro fights, plus been in with the likes of brilliant former cruiserweight world champion Maris Briedis and big-punching Craig Glover.
Wardley, who fights out of the Suffolk Punch gym in Martlesham, said: "It's a great fight for me and my career. It's exactly what we needed at this stage of my career, that step up, that next level, that someone who's not going to come and just survive, they want to win and obviously he wants to go home with the belt, I want to go home with the belt and it's going to be a good toe-to-toe fight.
"I'm expecting him to be very well-schooled, very resilient and very sharp.
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"He's not a conventional heavyweight in terms of being large and heavy and clubbing, he's similar to myself - on the lighter side of heavyweights and more sharp than he is heavy.
"That's what we're going to be looking for - and we'll be looking to meet him with that, beat him to the punch and be sharp."
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He continued: "I'm expecting it to be the hardest fight of my career. This is the big stage for me. I'm going to be late on the bill, it's for a title, live on Sky Sports in front of a good few thousand Geordie fans.
"It's going to be that real test moment - this is it, and we'll see if we're going to make it."
When pushed for a prediction, the confident and charismatic Suffolk puncher said: "I think we're both going to come out firing from the beginning and both want to put our mark on that fight, but I think after the fifth or sixth rounds my youth will kick in.
"I'll be putting a high pressure on and start to force him to flag - and hopefully get the knock-out."
And Wardley has no intention of stopping with the English title. He said: "My ultimate goal in this sport is to win a world title. I don't think it's unattainable at all, I think I can get there.
"I just have to stay on track, stay consistent, stay with the plan and we can get there.
"But 100% I want that real top level silverware around my waist one day."