By Jon Briggs: While the attention of boxing fans is fixated on this weekend’s highly anticipated heavyweight clash between David Haye and Tony Bellew, under the radar another heavyweight hopeful will make his bow as a professional boxer. This installment of Debutant Watch features Ipswich’s Fabio Wardley who steps through the ropes at The Halls in Norwich on Saturday night in a four round contest.
The 22 year old starts his professional journey fighting out of the Suffolk Punch boxing club under the tutelage of coach Neil Hodgins and promoter Mervyn Turner. Fabio has high hopes for his career after a successful spell fighting on the unlicensed scene.
What made you want to start boxing?
“I kind of stumbled into boxing. From as soon as I could walk I was playing football but then got a to point when I was bored of football. I knew Neil Hodgins who asked to come along to the gym to get fit and I just went from there.”
Did you have a boxing idol when you were younger?
“I am torn between Muhammad Ali and Roy Jones Jnr, if I had to pick one it would be Roy Jones. He is a fighter I really enjoy watching and was impressed with the way he went up to heavyweight to win a world title.”
Did you do much amateur boxing?
“I haven’t had any amateur boxing contests. The ABA heavyweight scene was very quiet so didn’t ever follow up an amateur career. The guys in the gym had some white collar shows and asked me to jump on one of them. My first fight was fantastic and I loved it and just wanted more. I had four fights as a white-collar fighter and won them all by KO.”
How do you know the time is right to turn pro?
“I feel the time is right now. I am very young in boxing terms and am aware I have a lot to learn on the job. I will be picking it up and improving as I go along. I intent to knuckle down over the next few years and take in all the advice my team give me.”
Do you work full-time alongside boxing?
“I work full time as a recruitment consultant for a social work agency. At first it was tough to get my schedule right but now I am happy I know how to structure a training camp properly and this camp has gone very smoothly. I always train before work and then go to the gym in the evening from half past six until about nine.”
What sort of fighting style do you have?
“I will have an un-orthodox, hands down style. I have very good movement when boxing. I won’t be a conventional heavyweight that will plod forward and walk you down. I will be a lot lighter on my feet.”
What ambitions/expectations do you have for your pro career?
“I want to go all the way, I am not playing at boxing. I will pay my dues and learn my trade on the way up but the end goal is to win titles and have a belt around my waist. I want to get five or six fights in the next year and maybe towards the middle of next year start thinking about fighting for the southern-area title. Beyond that I want to go for the English and British titles.”