Fabio Wardley maintained his perfect professional record with a thrilling first-round stoppage of Nick Webb at Matchroom Fight Camp.
The Ipswich man (now 12-0 with 11 wins inside distance) retained his English heavyweight title by blitzing Webb (now 17-3) with a fearsome assault late in the opening session.
Webb on top early
It was an unexpected end to proceedings, after Webb had been the dominant fighter in the opening two minutes, coming forward constantly to pressure the unbeaten Wardley.
Webb in particular enjoyed considerable success with a chopping right hand which landed regularly, and Wardley was in defensive mode for much of those opening minutes, though he did counter with the occasional swift left hook.
Wardley turns the tide
Into the final minute of the session though and Wardley suddenly exploded as he smashed powerful shots through the guard of Webb to have the Chertsey man immediately in big trouble.
Webb was quickly on the ropes and eating leather at a furious rate, and when he did fall to the canvas the fight was stopped 2:30 in, just as things were starting to get really interesting.
Wardley, as he had against Eric Molina in his last outing in March, showed he is most dangerous when he appears to be on the back foot. Now the 26-year-old will bid to continue his progression through the ranks.
“It was a big one for me because this was a good test,” he said afterwards.
“He was coming off a good win and we had to just make a bit of an impact, make a bit of a statement. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the cleanest performance but sometimes you’ve just got to grit these ones out and get it done. I proved the difference. I proved that I can take a shot and keep moving like I proved against Molina. You can hit me and I’ll still come back at you with full force. He caught me a few times but it doesn’t faze me, I keep moving and I’ll move to take you out.
“I wasn’t going to let him off the hook. That’s something that we’ve been building on, that killer instinct – to notice and pay attention to when you’ve got someone going. I think in my last few fights I’ve been getting that going. When I hit someone and I see that little chink in their armour, I’m going in and I’m getting the kill.
“I respect every fighter that’s ever stepped in the ring because it’s a dangerous sport and anything can happen. I had to do what I did to get Nick in the ring in the first place because I’ve been chasing Nick for a year. I had to switch up my approach and go for the more aggressive stance and call him out and call him a few names. It’s all for the love of the sport at the end of the day. I respect everyone that gets in there.
Wardley loving the rollercoaster ride
“I think I’ve made the most out of every opportunity that’s been put in front of me. I’ve never said no to an opportunity that Ed has given me. I’m becoming increasingly more difficult to match because me, Dill and the team, we don’t say no. If you want to meet me in the ring I’m happy to go there, let’s go. It feels like a dream, it feels like a weird rollercoaster and I’m just running with it. I’m just loving what I’m doing and I’m staying focused.
“I’ve won the English and I’ve defended it; I think that’s me done with it now. Moving forwards for the British, Commonwealth, European – those types of belts are what I’ve got my eyes set on next and obviously Joe (Joyce) is holding onto them. He’s going to be moving on, he’s trying to move to that world level and he’s going to want to drop them sooner or later. I’ll be there ready and waiting.”