BRAMPTON bantamweight Josh Wale has slammed English champion Craig Lyon after the Merseyside fighter withdrew from a potential bout just 24 hours after it was offered, writes Liam Hoden.
Wale was left furious and bitterly disappointed after his chance at the national strap was presented to him and taken away in a matter of just a day.
He told the Times: “I just can’t believe it, I’m gutted.
“I got the phone call on the Friday night to ask if I wanted it and we snatched their hand off.
“Then a day later we get the call back to say Lyon’s camp don’t fancy it any more.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
The 22-year-old’s young career has been plagued with problems in pinning down opponents, meaning he has had just five fights in the last two years.
Wale believes Lyon’s camp may have done their research after the fight was agreed and this would explain their change of heart.
He said: “I think my name was mentioned, they looked at my record and saw I was 11-3 and thought it’d be an easy defence for them.
“But I bet after I accepted it they went away and had a closer look.
“I was beaten by Harry Ramagoadi with a bad cut, I narrowly lost to a top class kid in Matthew Marsh and the defeat to Willie Casey in Prizefighter was controversial and everyone said I should have won it.
“And if they had a look on YouTube, they will have seen my style.
“I think they bottled it.
“They gave no real reason for taking the fight away a day after they offered it.
“I can’t understand it because the kid is 28-years-old, he’s 12 fights unbeaten.
“What has he got to fear?
He should be confident of beating anyone.
“People are too concerned about their record and that’s not boxing.
“Do you want to prove how good you are or just go on beating rubbish?”
Wale’s manager Tommy Gilmour has written to the British Boxing Board of Control to appeal for assistance in moving his career forward.
But Wale knows he must force his way into championship contests.
“If I keep winning and putting in the good performances there will be no where to run for people like Lyon,” Wale said.
“I’ll keep going until the Board make me the mandatory challenger and that applies to British champion Stuart Hall and European champion Jamie McDonnell.
“I’ll fight anyone in Britain or Europe, it’s just a shame anyone won’t fight me.”
Adding to the frustration is the fact Prizefighter winner Casey has gone from strength to strength since his controversial win over Wale last May.
Wale seemed to have Casey beat in the close three round contest but a split decision went in favour of the Irish fighter.
Casey went on to win the tournament and captured the European title in November.
In March he will contend the interim WBA world title.
Wale said: “It just shows what a little break can do for your career.
“Who knows where I could be if the decision had gone my way.”
He now expects to fight in Bridgend, Wales on February 12 on the undercard of the British lightweight bout between Gavin Rees and John Watson.