Josh Wale fighting back after lowest moment of his career

Josh Wale is the sort of fighter that gets straight back up when he is knocked down - if he was ever to get knocked down in the first place.

Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 4:20 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 4:22 pm
Josh Wale

Tough as teak, relentless, determined, a true fighting man - Wale has never taken a backwards step in a boxing journey that has taken up the majority of his 30 years.

Yet he admits he was questioning his desire the get back on his feet after the metaphorical knockdown of his last fight.

Josh Wale

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Wale travelled to Vesoul in France - a town with a population not much greater than the collection of villages in the south eastern corner of Barnsley around where he grew up - to contest the vacant European bantamweight title against Georges Ory.

The treatment afforded to him and his team before and after the contest was sickening enough as it seemed every possible measure was taken to make life as difficult as possible.

But what happened in the ring was arguably even worse, particularly for a true fighting man.

Though competitive, Wale was clearly in front in the contest but the scorecards would not reflect that.

Ory was handed the title on an infuriatingly baffling majority decision, delivering a considerable body blow to proud Wale.

"That was probably the lowest I've ever been as a professional," he told The Star.

"I've been through everything before. I was just missing out all the time - I was called the nearly man for so long.

"But when you get to European title level you think that is all behind you.

"I didn't want any favours in France. I just wanted the right result.

"I was down for a couple of weeks after it.

"But then I did what I always have done - I pulled myself back together and set off after the next thing.

"And it needed something good to get me back on track with it all."

That something good is the chance at a historic achievement Wale will chase on Friday night in his home town.

He will look to become Barnsley's first ever two time British champion when he contests the vacant super bantamweight crown with Brad Foster at the Metrodome.

For so long, British title glory was the dream for a student of the game who fully understands the prestige of the Lord Lonsdale belt.

And to claim back the crown he relinquished in his hunt for international honours is another dream scenario.

"To be a two time British champion, I'd be honoured," he said.

"This is something to get my teeth back into.

"Last time I won it I did it in Doncaster, so to do it in Barnsley would be brilliant.

"The British title was everything to me and this will be my sixth British title fight.

"I'm immensely proud of what I've done.

"People say I'm 30 now so how many more hard fights can I be in but I keep getting better.

"I'm getting better all the time so I just keep going.

"No Englishman has ever been a two time British champion at bantamweight or super bantamweight so that would mean a lot."

The atmosphere in the Metrodome this weekend is sure to be electric with Barnsley fight fans embracing one of their own in recent years.

Earlier in his professional career Wale was more often than not on the road and rarely fought in front of a hometown crowd.

But since joining up with manager and promoter Stefy Bull, Barnsley has undoubtedly become his boxing home.

"I think throughout my career I've taken every fight wherever it is," Wale said.

"When we first started working with Stefy he said how come such a popular kid like Josh is always away from home.

"Barmsley has really got behind me over the last few years.

"I've done more than 500 tickets. People know what sort of kid I am. There's no nonsense with me.

"I'm an old school boxer, I work hard and do it the traditional way.

"I'll take some beating when I come out in front of my own crowd and with the British title as well, I'll take some shifting."

His European jaunt may have been one of the most difficult moments of his career, but he says there will be no hesitation in pursuing title glory at that level if he comes through Friday night on the right side.

In fact, he sees the British title as the gateway to international success.

"It's starting again," he said.

"The British title, if you get that then straight away you're knocking on the door for a European title again.

"I'm highly ranked in the European rankings anywhere.

"If they offered me the same fight again in France I'd probably take it."