Wale out to become pride of Barnsley

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Josh Wale is determined to fly the flag for Barnsley on the national stage by becoming British champion tonight.

Should Wale walk away from Liverpool with the Lord Lonsdale belt, he will become only the third British boxing champion to emerge from Barnsley.

And he says the chance of a place in history is a strong source of motivation heading into tonight’s bout against James ‘Jazza’ Dickens.

“I take a lot of pride in representing Barnsley and I have done since I was a young kid in the amateurs,” Wale told the Star.

“It’s been 20 years since Chris Saunders was British welterweight champion and I think it’s time that Barnsley had another.

“I seem to have caught people’s imagination in town, particularly since I fought Gavin McDonnell for the British title last year.

“People stop me for pictures and a chat and they seem excited that a Barnsley boxer is doing well.

“I’m determined to do them all proud on Friday night.”

The situation became heated when Wale went head to head with Dickens at the pre-fight press conference on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old says he has plenty of respect for the Liverpool fighter but believes he has been talked up too much in his hometown.

He said: “Don’t get me wrong, Jazza is a decent fighter.

“But I don’t think he’s as good as he’s been made out to be.

“He fought Kid Galahad and so did I.

“Other than that, he hasn’t really fought anyone of the standard of the kids I’ve been fighting over the last few years.

“I’ve been in there with a world champion and another kid who could be about to become European champion and I’ve not disgraced myself.

“I feel like it’s my time to step up.

“I’ve proven myself and for me, Jazza hasn’t done it to the same level.”