From a brawler to a boxer

GWYN Wale says fans should expect to see a more mature fighter than they may remember when he steps between the ropes on Friday night for his return to action.

The Brampton fighter garnered a reputation as a big punching bulldozer in the early years of his career.

But he insists his long-awaited comeback at the Metrodome will re-introduce a boxer rather than a brawler to the Barnsley public.

“I’ve matured a lot over the last four and a half years,” he told the Times.

“I know I can’t go in there ready to smash the other kid up, I’ve got to stand my ground and pick my shots.

“I can brawl, but I can box as well and that’s the side I’ll be showing a lot more of.

“I’m really happy with how sparring has gone for me because I’ve felt really comfortable in there and it’s as though I’ve never been away with me picking up the combinations again.

“There was the worry that I’d struggle but it’s been so much easier than I thought it would be.”

Wale says he walked away from the ring in 2006 after become disillusioned with the sport and more interested in partying than training.

Four and a half years on, he is now married and has a child – which has helped motivate the 26-year-old to try and fulfil the potential he showed as a young professional.

He said: “I’m a lot more grounded than I was in the past and a lot more determined.

“Having a family has settled me down a lot and I think about it all a lot more than I did.

“I never had it easy – my debut was live on the BBC and I was boxing on Sky while I was still a teenager. It got a bit too much for me.

“But I’ve missed boxing a lot and there’s been times when I was really close to coming back.

“I work as a brickie but there’s not been a lot of work for the last six months so it’s been the perfect opportunity for me.

“I know now is the right time because I’m feeling brilliant and really confident.”

A hand injury prevented Wale from making a return last year but he insists he is now fully fit for Friday’s bout.

He said: “I feel brilliant right now.

“I’m bang on the weight and I’m as fit as I’ve ever been.”

Since making his decision to return, Wale has trained under dad Mick alongside brother Josh and the rest of the burgeoning stable of fighters who will compete at the Metrodome on Friday night.

He insists this has helped him stay on track.

“I still get a bit lazy to be honest,” he said. “But having my dad to give me a gentle nudge has helped.

“He doesn’t need to shout, he’ll just have a word and get me back going.

“Training with the lads in the gym has been good because we’ve all been working towards the same date and they’re a good group.

“Our Josh is never out of there either and he works his socks off.”

Wale will meet 132 fight veteran Jason Nesbitt, who he fought previously in 2004.

While Nesbitt has lost 120 of his bouts, he has only been stopped 11 times and Wale knows he is in for a tricky contest.

He said: “He’s a tough kid, it doesn’t matter what his record says.

“He’s got a good right hand so I know I can’t go in there swinging.

“I’ve got to pick my shots and work quickly.”

Wale hopes to work off any ring rust over his next few fights but has targets in mind for the future.

He said: “I know my level and what I can achieve.

“Our Josh can go to that world level because he lives and breathes the sport.

“I’m not like that and my family is my main priority.

“But I’m confident I could be a British champion.

“I know I haven’t got time to mess about because I’m 26 now.

“I’d like to think I could be British champion by the time I’m 29.

“And I know I would have achieved something then.

“There are going to be exciting times ahead.”

n Wale’s stablemates Neil Beevers, Ross Blackwell, Matthew Mallin and Neil Dawson will all be in action at the Metrodome on Friday, along with Swinton’s Tommy Coward.

Unbeaten Wombwell duo Beevers and Blackwell take on Bheki Moyo and Delroy Spencer while Stairfoot’s Mallin fights Ryan Clark.

Thorpe Hesley cruiserweight Dawson returns after a four year absence against Mark Lewis.

And Mexborough-trained Coward meets Richard Troupe.

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