Fabio Wardley, managed by Dillian Whyte, talks about sparring two other world-level heavyweights in Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk
Fabio Wardley, as was outlined in a recent interview feature, has only had 11 fights, four on the white-collar circuit and a further seven since turning pro, a journey which continues this Saturday at the O2. Managed by the event’s headline act, Dillian Whyte, Ipswich’s Wardley has compensated for the lack of competitive experience by sparring his ‘boss’ and the likes of the “Body Snatcher’s” rival Tyson Fury and pound-for-pound contender Oleksandr Usyk.
“I sparred Fury in preparation for his fight with Francesco Pianeta [almost a year ago],” Wardley reveals “I had a good relationship with Ben Davison who used to train Tom Little, who I used to spar regularly when I was starting out. Ben gave us the call one day, ‘I need some quick, agile people to keep him moving.’
“It was a one-day session, it was weird being in there with someone so big and so quick; I’m used to one or the other. He’s very difficult to get near, but once you get near him, you can get your combinations off well and you can catch him. Maybe now I’m signed with Dillian, there could be a bit of animosity on their side, but Dillian would never say, ‘Don’t go to spar him.’”
As for Usyk, it all began with a mysterious message on Facebook that Wardley initially thought was a hoax, but a few weeks later he was jetting to Ukraine to assist in the fighter’s preparations for Tony Bellew late last year, and has since returned for a second visit.
“I was baffled at first, I felt like the guy messaging me could be anyone, but I had a chat with him, passed his details on to my coaches and delved deeper into it,” Wardley (24) recalls. “It was all legit, all real and soon I was on a plane on my own.
“I went back there two-three weeks after I stopped Morgan Dessaux [in February]. A member of his team said I was doing really well, ‘You’ve improved loads from when you were here last time.’ I was a lot more comfortable. The first time around, I felt I had no place being around these people, the second time I had been at two big O2 bills, I’d signed with Dillian, I felt a bit more worthy and I was comfortable with him and his team.”