Fabio Wardley has accused BOXXER of having ‘no confidence’ in Frazer Clarke and ‘running scared’ after Ben Shalom pulled the 31-year-old out of their British title clash.
Wardley had been ordered to defend his British heavyweight title against Clarke, with the British Boxing Board of Control setting a deadline of Wednesday May 10 for the purse bids.
However, just 10 minutes before the purse bids were due to take place, Eddie Hearn Tweeted to say that Shalom and BOXXER had pulled Clarke out of the highly-anticipated fight.
The MatchRoom promoter wrote: ‘Heard from the BBBofC that Boxxer has pulled @BigFrazeBoxer out of the @Fabio_Wardley purse bid today. What a complete joke and a waste of our time. Robbing the fighters of opportunity and the fans of a brilliant fight. Shambles.’
Shalom was quick to defend his decision to pull Clarke out – claiming the 31-year-old’s limited experience in the pro ranks and his lack of rounds would have been problematic. Shalom also said that he was eager for Clarke to have a 10-round warm-up fight before going into a 12-round British title bout.
Wardley has accused BOXXER of having ‘no confidence’ in Frazer Clarke and ‘running scared’
Wardley had been order to defend his British heavyweight title against Clarke but Ben Shalom pulled him out of the British title clash
Wardley says that Clarke has the ‘wrong people around him’ such as BOXXER and Sky
However, Wardley is adamant that BOXXER are making excuses for Clarke as they have ‘no confidence’ in his ability – claiming Shalom and his team ‘ripped a massive occasion’ away from the 31-year-old and the Beitish public.
Speaking exclusively to Mail Sport, Wardley said: ‘The bottom line is, they’ve run away from it. They’ve run scared. That’s the long and short of it unfortunately. They’ve run away from a fight that they have no confidence in their man to win.
‘For all the talk, for all the we want the British title, we want the Fabio Wardley fight, I think I could beat him now, I think I could beat him in his next fight, I could do this, I could do that… they turned and ran a mile when D-day came.
‘So, there’s no other explanation other than you know your man will get beaten by me and that he’s not ready for me. All credit to his previous accolades and his amateur background but this is a different game.
‘I have been in professional boxing now for seven, eight years. That’s all I’ve been in. I’ve only been a professional boxer so all I know is professional boxing. You may be amateur this, you may be amateur that, you may have a bronze medal but this is professional boxing.
‘This is something I am built for, this is something I designed for. I am also known for getting stuck into the wars and not shying away from them at all. These are all facts that they know and they’ve obviously looked at a list of pros and cons and thought hang on, we’ve got a strong amateur here but he’s got a novice professional record.
‘Then they’re thinking we’ve got a very strong professional here that has been tested, that’s been weathered, that knows the game and has only been tested in professional boxing. We know the distance from amateur boxing to professional boxing. So they’ve gone, we don’t have the minerals for this and run the other way.’
When asked who was to blame for the collapse of the British heavyweight title fight, Wardley said Shalom. He said that the promoter was responsible for ‘ripping a massive fight’ away from Clarke.
Eddie Hearn was furious with the decision and accused BOXXER of wasting everyone’s time
Wardley told Mail Sport: ‘I think it’s Ben [Shalom]. That’s the credit I will give to Frazer. I do believe a part of him wants the fight. I believe he is surrounded by the wrong people. He’s been advised by the wrong people and he’s got the wrong people in his ear in terms of BOXXER, in terms of Sky, in terms of 258 [management].
‘I think he might have been confident in himself in terms of the fight against me – thinking he can do it. But, everyone around him was a bit more sheepish about the idea and they got in his ear.
‘They will have been saying, how about we wait, how about we build you up, how about we do a few more fights, how about we get you to a level to train for this, we’ll get you to an eight-rounder, we’ll get you to a 10-rounder.
‘An excuse for them that they were using was that he’s not done more than six rounds. Okay, well neither have I. I’ve never done more than six rounds. I might have trained for 10 and 12 round fights but I’ve never done them on fight night. We’re in the same place, we’re on the same page so don’t use silly excuses.
‘In fact, he’s had over a hundred fights whereas I’ve only just reached 20 between white collar and pro ranks. I’ve had a single 12 round fight which was over in 3 rounds so if anything he is far more experienced than me in the ring. But the thing I have that he hasn’t got is heart. He is clearly scared of his own shadow. No wonder people are likening him to the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. No heart, no balls, no chance.
‘Either say you want it and do it or don’t waste people’s time for months and months on end. You’re messing people around and dragging the public along. You’ve been wasting everyone’s time and conning the public.
‘Me, my team, Ed [Eddie Hearn], MatchRoom. We’ve been putting everything in motion. Frazer could have had one of the biggest paydays of his life and the biggest night of his life for more money than all his previous purses put together as we were planning on doing it at Portman Road in front of 30,000 people.
‘It was a massive fight, a massive occasion and a life changing payday for him. He’s had that all ripped away from him because his own team – BOXXER, Sky, 258 – have no faith in him.’
When discussing his decision to pull Clarke from the purse bids, Shalom told Sky Sports that BOXXER had already made Wardley a ‘substantial offer’ that would have seen the title holder pick up a ‘career-highest payday’.
Shalom says that a fight between Wardley and Clarke can still go ahead, but at a later date
Wardley will need an opponent for his first British heavyweight title defence before that
However, Wardley has refuted such claims and told Mail Sport that BOXXER’s initial offer would have seen him earn less than his previous fight against Michael Polite Coffie.
‘No, it was an offer with a lot of strings to it. It was a light offer at the start with a very heavy backend which would have been, quote unquote, ‘career high payday’, he told Mail Sport.
‘It was a multi-fight deal. The first fight wasn’t even against Frazer Clarke. It might not have been a defence of my title, So, first off, what’s the point in me even doing that. Secondly, it was less than what I got for my last fight. So that’s a backwards step as well. Why would I do that?
‘Also, over the last few months, all I have seen and all that’s been proven is that you and your fighter are on two different pages. Maybe not even two different pages, you’re reading two different books.
‘Frazer is saying I want the fight, I’m ready, lets go now, while Ben Shalom is saying maybe two or three fights, end of the year, maybe we might do it, think he need to tune him up a little bit, he needs a bit more time.
‘So, you’re showing me that you’ve got complete lack of faith in your fighter. Then you come to me with a multi-fight deal and you think that I’m going to sign with someone who has proven and shown that they’ve got no faith in their own fighter who is currently meant to be their A-star, top-tier heavyweight. That doesn’t make any sense.’
‘I can’t get my head around the fact that they begged the Board for the fight and got what they wanted. I ran towards the opportunity and all they did was run away and hide. The Board ordered purse bids which is like an auction. Whoever wanted the fight could have got it by bidding the most on the day. It is the most honest and fair way of ensuring that both boxers get what they’re worth. And they pulled out at the last minute and started making pathetic and unbelievable excuses. Disgraceful!’
Shalom is adamant that a fight between Wardley and Clarke can still go ahead, but at a later date. The BOXXER promoter told Sky Sports that he would be happy to arrange a bout once Clarke completes a 10-round contest first.
However, Wardley will be in need of an opponent for his first British heavyweight title defence before that – with David Adeley the most likely contender.
When asked about his plans going forwards, Wardley said: ‘It’s a funny one isn’t it. I am the champion, I should be in control and have control of the situation. I should be able to dictate, but I can’t.
Shalom told Sky Sports that BOXXER had already made Wardley a ‘substantial offer’ that would have seen the title holder pick up a ‘career-highest payday’
However, Wardley has refuted such claims and told Mail Sport that BOXXER’s initial offer would have seen him earn less than his previous fight against Michael Polite Coffie
‘Frazer Clarke, David Adeleye and whoever else are going to have fights while I have to sit in limbo and wait to see what the board does.
‘I have to see whether they mandate me again against someone else, whether they give me a voluntary or whether they just leave me alone for a little while.
‘I can’t really do anything or plan anything before I know that for a fact. It’s a strange one and it’s an unfair one.
‘I’ve done the hard work here, I’ve won the belt and I’m the only one that’s been hamstrung at the moment being told I can’t do anything at the moment.’