Fabio Wardley’s rest and relaxation time is over. The British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion has taken a few weeks to recover from his bruising encounter with Frazer Clarke and has recently been tripping the light fantastic celebrating his beloved Ipswich Town’s promotion to the Premier League after an absence of 22 years.

It is time for Wardley, 17-1 (16 KOs), to get back to the grind and back on the circuit and that will mean talking about the 12 rounds he and Clarke shared at the O2 Arena in March. Wardley eventually retained his titles after a split draw. 

The successful promotion was built around Wardley’s insistence that his education on the rough, tough white collar scene and willingness to bite down and fight his way out of trouble would trump the Olympic silver medallist’s amateur pedigree and better technique. 

Both men proved plenty to each other. Wardley stood in front of an accomplished amateur and did well to hold himself together and battle through fatigue and a damaged nose whilst Clarke got up off the floor after a fifth round knockdown and showed that he was more than ready to go to the trenches. 

“[I’ve got] A massive level of respect for him. You hadn’t seen that level of resilience and grit from him. If I’m honest, I doubted if it was there,” Wardley told Sky Sports. 

“I doubted if he really wanted it and really wanted to take himself there. I thought, ‘Ok, let me see.’ I know I’ll go there. I’ll go there for fun. I thought, ‘Let me take you there and see if you wanna come along for the ride.’ To be honest, he was there the whole way through. I found a very happy dance partner.

“We’ve had very brief conversations [since]. More so just like, ‘That was a hell of a fight. We did something there.’ Not so much ‘Congratulations’ but ‘Fair dos.’”

As exciting as the 12 rounds were that Wardley and Clarke shared, it was also evident that both need to tighten up a little more before they jump in with the world’s top operators. A rematch would not only be an extremely high profile and lucrative affair, it would also give each fighter the chance to show off any improvement.

The interest generated by the first fight gives Boxxer the chance to get creative with venues. The O2 Arena would seem like a safe, natural fit but as Wardley is an ardent Ipswich Town supporter, a late summer open air event at their home stadium, Portman Road, would give the rematch a real ‘big time’ feel and serve as ideal curtain raiser for Town’s return to the top flight of British football. Logistics may well make the suggestion a non-starter – for this year at least – but it is an idea which has been discussed.

“It’s a possibility. I think that’s where it sits at the moment,” Wardley said. “It’s an option and a possibility. It’s not really much further down the line than that. There’s a lot of details and things that need to be crossed off. A lot of things that need to sorted out first.”

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