Fabio Wardley is the fifth instalment of Prospects to Watch.
Prospects to Watch is a series where I analyse the best prospects in world boxing and review their potential as well as future fights.
Fabio Wardley is (10-0, 9 KOs) in his professional boxing career and is the reigning English Heavyweight Champion. The 26-year old resides in and fights out of Ipswich, Suffolk. He is managed by mentor Dillian Whyte and works with Matchroom Boxing. Fabio Wardley is featured in the Matchroom Schedule and is set to return on the Povetkin-Whyte 2 PPV Undercard against Veteran Eric Molina.
Fabio Wardley: The Early Life
As a Kid, Fabio Wardley found himself constantly in trouble at school and was referred to Suffolk Positive Futures where he met Rob Hodgins who would eventually become his boxing coach. He was a promising footballer at this time, but potential professional opportunities were scuppered by injuries to both ankles.
Due to his ankle injuries at aged 19, he was ‘sat around for six months doing nothing’ and decided to take up boxing casually. After a couple of months of training, he was offered a white-collar fight where he instantly fell in love with the ‘raw of the crowd, shouting his name’ and continued to compete in white-collar events.
Mervyn Turner (Boxing Manager) then offered Fabio Wardley the opportunity to turn over to the pro ranks. He didn’t have his first spar till he was 20 years old. He had no traditional amateur background and only four white-collar bouts before turning professional in 2017 signing with Norwich-based Shamrock Promotions who guided Sam Sexton to a British Heavyweight Title.
The Rise Through The Ranks
Wardley started out his career boxing on the small-hall circuit and after a couple of fights, his career took a huge turn when he was called on by Dillian Whyte for sparring in preparation for Robert Helenius. Fabio Wardley ‘got on really well‘ with him and ‘looked up’ to him. Whyte would continue to call him for sparring throughout his rise in 2018.
Following Management disputes which meant he struggled to land fights, he split with his management and called on Dillian Whyte for advice. Whyte, who was already managing Riakporhe, decided to take Wardley under his wing. As a result, Wardley went from small-hall appearances to boxing on the Whyte-Chisora 2 PPV Undercard.
Additionally, his relationship with Whyte and simultaneously Matchroom helped him stay busy throughout 2019 facing a rise in opposition which was very surprising considering the lack of background and pedigree for Fabio Wardley. He stopped 13-3, Dennis Lewandowski who had never been stopped before in just 3 rounds.
Prospect to Contender
Wardley was then scheduled to take a huge step-up in opposition in the form of Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Simon Vallily (17-2) on the April 4 Ritson Vasquez Card in Newcastle. However, due to the pandemic, this fight was postponed. Instead, he would take on Vallily in a much more anticipated and bigger-platform fight for the English Heavyweight Title during Week 1 of Fight Camp.
Fabio Wardley showed his constant improvement and proved to be too strong and good for Vallily taking him out in just 3 rounds. This was a massive statement as many fans backed Vallily to beat the inexperienced Wardley pre-fight. Wardley proving to be an exciting fighter then got another opportunity to return in the year on the Benn-Formella Undercard in November.
Wardley faced another tough test in the form of Ghanaian Richard Lartey who had extended Dubois 4 competitive rounds in 2019. Fabio Wardley knocked out Lartey in just 2 rounds proving to be too powerful for a very tough contender and made another impressive statement. He is now scheduled to step-up to fringe world level on the Povetkin Whyte 2 PPV Undercard.
He faces two-time world title challenger and hard-punching Texan Eric Molina on March 27 in Gibraltar. A win here could pummel him into World Ranking and earn him a possibility of a world title shot sometime in the future. Winning an English Title with no amateur background is a very impressive accomplishment but how much further can Wardley go?
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