“IT felt like he was hitting me with a shovel.”
That was how Josh Wale described the feeling as he continued to fight for four rounds after breaking his jaw against South African Michael Ramabeletsa at Barnsley Metrodome on Sunday.
The Brampton bantamweight suffered a fracture of his jaw in the sixth round but continued on to claim the vacant British Masters title with a 96-94 points triumph.
Speaking to the Times from his hospital bed following an operation on Monday, the 23-year-old spoke of the pain he endured in order to grasp the prize.
He said: “I knew something was wrong straight away but I had to keep going.
“It was something stupid – I opened my mouth which I never do and he caught me.
“Every time he landed after that it felt like he was hitting me with a shovel.
“But there was no way I was going to give in.
“I didn’t tell my corner what I thought had happened because I wanted to win so much.
“I think they thought I’d just had my teeth knocked out.
“If anyone would have pulled me out of that fight I don’t think I would have spoken to them again – that’s how much I want to win.”
Wale is expected to make a full recovery and praised doctors at Sheffield’s Hallamshire Hospital.
He said: “The doctors have been fantastic and they’re confident I’ll be fine.
“They said they can’t believe I carried on and though 99.9 per cent of other people would have thrown in the towel.
“I’ve got to go back for a check up in two weeks once the swelling has gone down but they said it shouldn’t affect my boxing career.”
Wale is hopeful to be fit to box by mid-February with a bout against former British champion Stuart Hall potentially on the cards.
Both fighters are keen to get their hands on the British strap, currently held by Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell.
With McDonnell likely to vacate to pursue his world title ambitions, Hall and Wale look set to be paired in one of two eliminators to decide who will next contest the crown.
He said: “It’s obviously a fight I’m desperate to sign on for.
“I’ve wanted to face Hall for a long time and I really want to take this opportunity.
“But it all depends on how quickly I recover from this.
“I feel like I could be back in there sparring next week but that’s obviously not going to happen.
“I’ll keep myself fit and see how it goes.”
Wale admitted he found the bout against the tough Ramabeletsa hard than he anticipated and praised the Bristol-based fighter’s performance.
He said: “He was a fantastic opponent and you could see he wanted to win just as much as I did.
“He admitted afterwards that he trained harder for that fight than any other in his career.
“If he can fight like that again he’ll cause some real problems.”
The bout proved a baptism of fire for Wale’s brother Gwyn who was on corner duty for the first time since earning his license.
Wale said: “I think it was hard for Gwyn to see me walk back to the corner looking like that.
“It would have been hard for him with any fighter but with me being his brother, I know he struggled.
“But it was fantastic to have him in there with me.”