Fabio Wardley has a come a long way since the days of “getting drunk in Ibiza”

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PEOPLE always ask me how I got into boxing and when I think back it seems like one day I went in the boxing gym and just never left.

As a kid I was into football and played at a high level but when I rolled both my ankles I couldn’t do it anymore. The first time I ever put on a pair of gloves I was 20 years old and I’ll be 28 next month.

At the start, I was there everyday training and sparring all the time. That gym was a white collar gym because where I’m from in Suffolk there’s not a big ABA scene. At the time I was working for a company in London doing recruitment, earning good money, commuting back and forth and was just boxing on the side for a competition fix.

I was working through the week, partying at the weekend with my mates, going out and getting drunk, going on holiday to Ibiza. I was a young lad just living that partyboy lifestyle but within a six-month period I decided not to do any of that anymore. It was all about boxing.

It progressed more and more and I fell more in love with it. I had four white collar fights in total and I remember after my first one, when I knocked the geezer out in the first round, I was stood there with my hand raised, all my friends and family there, and I had this quiet moment with myself thinking: ‘OK, this is it, I’ve found my thing, this is me.’

It seems like everything has moved quickly for me but I had some issues with my management at the start of my career. Then I remember calling Dillian Whyte one evening just for some advice on who I should sign with. Out of nowhere he said ‘hang on’ and hung the phone up on me. Five minutes later he phoned me back and said ‘fuck all that, come and sign with me’. I had a meeting with him straight away and signed the contract – the rest is history.

He was in the thick of it in his career at the time but he still had time for me, giving me care and attention. It takes a lot from him but thankfully I’ve done well with the opportunities he has given me so far. Now I have my next one to take care of.

And this is serious business now: me, Nathan Gorman, British title. I’ve been on the hunt for that belt for some time, I won the English a while ago now but there has been a stalemate at the top of the division which has trickled down into other levels which meant the British title got tied up for a little while. But this is a massive fight for me and Nathan is a good scalp to have on your record.

I’ve sparred him quite a few times and I was in his camp when he was fighting for the British title against Daniel Dubois. I was with him for a month so I’m relatively familiar with him. That was a couple of years ago now so both of us have developed massively as fighters since.
But honestly right now I feel like everything I do in this sport is a bonus. I came from starting boxing late, having four white collar fights only. There is always a feeling that I’m thankful for all that I’ve done so far but at the same time I’m always pushing on, always wanting bigger fights. I want to headline my own shows, pack out the O2 and Wembley Arena.

I’ve spent a lot of time around Dillian and it has taught me how to manage my own camps; how to plan, train properly, arrange sparring, how to adjust, things like that. I’ve been lucky enough to be shoulder-to-shoulder with him during these fights so I have seen it all up close. I’m able to watch it like a fly on the wall and apply it to my own camps. It’s special experience that not a lot of people get.

Now it’s up to me to make sure I can transfer that into my performance. I have no doubt that is exactly what I will do on Saturday.

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