Boxing


Wale’s bare ambition for Prizefighter glory

Josh Wale believes he has the perfect make-up to win Prizefighter Super Bantamweights on Saturday May 29 – drawing on his grandad’s experience as a bare knuckle fighter.

The Barnsley fighter takes on former Commonwealth, European and British title holder Esham Pickering in the second quarter-final of Barry Hearn’s latest eight-man, one night tournament at York Hall in Bethnal Green, east London..

Pickering is the most experienced fighter on the bill, with 43 fights to Wale’s 11, but the 22 year-old says his background will hold him in good stead for the title and £32,000 winner’s cheque.

“My dad Mick is my trainer, my brother Gwyn was a professional who made his debut at York Hall and my grandad was a bare knuckle fighter, so it’s fair to say the sport is in my blood,” said Wale. “This is really big for me – the prestige of winning Prizefighter is massive and if I take the crown I'm in the picture for title shots.”

Wale was 21 years-old on his last outing at York Hall in September, which ended in a points loss to Matthew Marsh for the vacant English Super-Bantamweight title. Marsh’s failure to make the weight meant the title remains vacant, and now 22, Wale believes he gained the maximum from the defeat.

“I came unstuck in the last couple of rounds against Marsh but it was a great experience for my age,” said Wale. “I learnt so much that I came out of it a better fighter and now Prizefighter is even more exposure for me.

“To box at York Hall is always massive - it's the Mecca of boxing, all the great British fighters have fought there.”

Wale or Pickering will face the winner of the opening bout of the night, between Liverpool’s Mark Moran and unbeaten Irishman Willie “Big Bang” Casey in the first semi-final. The second semi-final will match either Commonwealth gold medallist Jamie Arthur or Welshman Robbie Turley against unbeaten Ricky Owen facing Yorkshireman Gavin Reid.

“I've watched every Prizefighter and I love it,” said Wale. “It's just great for boxing – you can't save anything on the night you have to go for it from the first round. All my training has been specific to the format, fighting in bursts with short breaks in between but I'm an action packed fighter anyway. I had a good amateur career which wasn't that long ago as I'm still so young so I can draw on that too.”

Prizefighter has transformed the careers of a number of young fighters and should Wale win, the Brampton-based fighter has big plans for his day job as a window cleaner.

“The prize money along with the title would just be massive for me, and if I win, the window cleaning could go international!”

Tickets for Prizefighter Super-Bantamweights are available now at £35 (unreserved), £60 (ringside) and £100 (VIP) – call Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.

THE DRAW

Quarter-finals

Mark Moran v Willie Casey
Esham Pickering v Josh Wale
Robbie Turley v Jamie Arthur
Gavin Reid v Ricky Owen

Semi-finals

Moran/Casey v Pickering/Wale
Turley/Arthur v Reid/Owen

Article posted on 25.05.2010



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