Fabio Wardley has revealed that he was strongly advised to withdraw from his British Heavyweight title defence against bitter rival David Adeleye after being seriously wounded at their press conference.
The pair were booked to star on the undercard of Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and benefitted from a ruling by the British Boxing Board of Control to allow the title to be on the line overseas.
Seven weeks out, they clashed at an opening presser for the event, leaving Wardley cut in two places, the deepest of which was under his chin.
Whilst the brawl undoubtedly piled hype onto the fight, Wardley has now revealed just how serious his injury was. Speaking to SunSport, the 28-year-old from Ipswich said he will be sporting a permanent scar.
“A few inches higher and I could have lost an eye. A few inches lower and it could have hit an artery in my neck. A few inches one way and it could have ended my career, a few inches the other and it could have been genuinely life ending.”
“It was weird, surreal. I remember thinking, ‘Is this really f***ing happening?’ But I’m hard-headed and always knew I’d make the fight.”
“I was never going to give them the satisfaction of walking away from the fight, even when friends, family and medical people told me it was impossible.”
The report also contains words from plastic surgeon Raj Ragoowansi, which reveal that the cut was consistent with one caused by ‘a sharp device.’
“You presented with a deep chin laceration after you were assaulted yesterday evening (Sept 7). The laceration is down to the bone and the lower lip depressors. It has the characteristics of a wound caused by a sharp device.”
Despite that – or perhaps because of it – Wardley lodged a career-best performance, patiently boxing Adeleye before knocking him down with a quick combination of hooks out of the clinch.
The challenger’s attempts to fight on were halted by the referee following another swarm of punches, and Wardley put a full-stop on his first defence of the British title.