We analyse the credentials of Fabio Wardley and David Adeleye as the two hard-hitting fighters get set to do battle in Saudi Arabia this weekend with the British heavyweight title on the line.
Understandably, it will be Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou who receive most of the attention when they lock-horns in Riyadh on Saturday night, but the best fight of the night sees .
Two undefeated, power-punching big men with a genuine dislike for each other is a combination which should have explosive results.
Tensions most certainly boiled over on the red carpet ahead of their recent press conference, where Wardley was conducting an interview when his rival shoved the Ipswich boxer, resulting in a wild fracas.
Now, they have the opportunity to end the feud in the ring.
While both prospects are still in the infancy of their careers, could the winner go on to be Britain’s next ruler of the land of giants?
Let’s have a look at the tale of the tape…
|Fabio Wardley||David Adeleye|
|Height:||6ft 5ins||6ft 4.5ins|
|Trainer:||Robert Hodgins||Frank Greaves|
|Record:||16-0 (15 KO's)||12-0 (11 KO's)|
|Last Fight:||Won (TKO) v Michael Coffie (April 2023)||Won (RTD) v Emir Ahmatovic (June 2023)|
Fabio Wardley’s path to this point has been an unusual one.
Wardley ( to win this weekend) is a natural athlete who had been an academy player for his beloved football team, Ipswich Town. Sadly, ankle injuries curtailed any hope he had of playing the beautiful game as a professional.
It appeared that the dream of being a sportsman had died, but the 28-year-old was content as he found success as a recruitment consultant.
Always on the lookout for a new challenge, Wardley began training at his local boxing gym. His athleticism instantly set him apart from the crowd.
Before long, he was offered the opportunity to take part in a white-collar boxing match. That bout ended in a knockout victory for the Ipswich man. Three more fights ended the same.
His performances caught the eye of, manager, Mervyn Turner who helped Wardley turn professional, in 2017.
Soon after the novice was helping Dillian Whyte prepare for his upcoming showdown with Robert Helenius and sparring Oleksandr Usyk ahead of the Ukrainian’s fight with Tony Bellew.
Wardley made such an impression on Whyte that ‘The Body Snatcher’ signed the novice to a managerial contract at the first available opportunity.
Under the guidance of Whyte, Wardley featured on a number of high-profile undercards, which allowed him to expose his explosive brand of power to a wider audience.
For someone with limited experience, the Ipswich man has made tremendous progress, in a short space of time.
Last year, he captured the British title, against Nathan Gorman. Many expected the bout to be competitive, but it was anything but. Wardley sent his rival to the canvas three times, forcing Gorman’s corner to throw in the towel, during the third round.
Wardley may not be as well-schooled as other prospects, but thus far, his speed and power have compensated for any technical deficiencies.
Will that be the case once more, or can Adeleye upset the odds?
|Hand speed||Can overreach|
|Good jab||Head falls over front foot|
|Power puncher||Stays in range after throwing shots|
|Good shot selection||Open to straight shots|
Gauging how far a prospect can go in the sport is often tricky.
That is certainly true of David Adeleye, with the young heavyweight looking devastating one moment and then incredibly frustrating the next.
In his defence, ‘Big D’ appears to be a natural counter-puncher, who has predominantly been matched with fighters who offer little going forward, Their main objective has been to merely survive. Many world champions struggled to look good against such opposition.
The biggest concern however, is that when faced with an ambitious foe, the 26-year-old turned in the worst performance of his career to date.
Kamil Sokolowski is a far better boxer than his 11-28-3 record suggests and he is a man that has given many a novice heavyweight a rough night. Yet, Adeleye was meant to prevail with relative ease.
Instead, the fight was close and many observes felt that the Queensberry Promotions fighter was fortunate to have his hand raised.
More encouraging is the fact that Adeleye has been drafted in by some of the best big men on the planet as a sparring partner. It is hardly surprising given his mix of power and amateur grounding, which saw him win the 2018 Senior ABA title.
Faced with the biggest test of fledgling career, can ‘Big D’ rise to the occasion and defy his prefight odds? Only time will tell.
|Powerful||Low punch output|
|Good timing||Moves back in straight lines|
|Decent jab||Lack of head movement|
|Good right uppercut||Susceptible to an overhand right|
Full Fight Markets
All odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.