The anticipated grudge match for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles ended when Fabio Wardley clattered David Adeleye to defeat in seven rounds.
Ipswich’s Wardley is now 17-0 with 16 stoppages, and he had never felt better.
“I knew that was how he was going to come out [quickly],” said Wardley. “I’ve got a boxing IQ, I know what to do in that ring. I knew what to do as the rounds went on, I was on form.
“That was probably the best I’ve felt. I’m smart. I don’t know what more you want to prove I’m a serious contender in this game. I knew I had more in the tank, I was going to keep pressing and get that knockout.”
Wardley then said he wanted to fight GB Olympian Frazer Clarke next [“If he wants to get it done, we will get it sorted”] and hoped that people will stop using the tag of him previously having boxed as a white-collar fighter.
It had started well enough for Adeleye, who opened his account with a hard jab in the early going of the first round and he scored with a strong left hook near the end of the session.
Although Wardley took it well enough, he was disappointed he had allowed it to happen.
Wardley was trying to close the distance more in the second, with Adeleye tracking back to the ropes but towards the end of the round Wardley managed to land a couple of right hands.
“He’s slowing down now,” Wardley was told in the corner before the start of the third.
They were swinging hard shots at one another, and while neither were landing much of any significance the pace was certainly slowing. Adeleye was throwing less, Wardley’s variety was better.
Wardley took the fourth, too. Adeleye was seemingly gassing but he remained dangerous with hard single counters, yet they were not going to keep Adeleye in it on the scorecards.
The Londoner was finding it hard to intelligently close the gap. He was trying to attack from too far out, and only sparingly throwing in combination.
There were some meaty exchanges with 40 seconds left in the fifth and Wardley connected with a smart counter right hand near the bell.
Despite a good start to the sixth from Adeleye – although he picked up a warning for using the elbow – he found the going much tougher as the round went on.
Wardley, who was ahead on all three cards, landed a crisp right hand as he exited from a clinch and swung with a cracking left hook that dropped Adeleye heavily.
Adeleye was flat on his back and he defiantly stuck his tongue out but he barely made it back to his feet to beat John Latham’s count.
Wardley came steaming in and although Adeleye tried to fight back, he threw blows trying to land by luck rather than judgement and then Latham had seen enough and waved it off.
Adeleye angrily pushed the referee away but the decision stood. He will be angry at himself for allowing himself to be hit by a right hand coming out of a clinch when he should have kept his left hand high enough to defend.
The loser, who said he wants a rematch, drops to 12-1 with 11 losses, and it was the first time he had been on the canvas as an amateur or professional.
“I think my game management was wrong and my legs just weren’t with me,” said Adeleye. “But I’m a man, I know how to take defeat. Humble in victory, humble in defeat. Fair play to Wardley, I’m a fighting man.”