JOSH Wale is out to prove he is a major contender in British bantamweight boxing – by taking on one of the division’s toughest veterans.
The 23-year-old Brampton fighter is all set to face former British and European champion Ian Napa on Doncaster Dome on September 3.
And he knows victory will propel him straight into contention for a British title shot of his own.
Wale told the Times: “You’ve got to test yourself in boxing, otherwise what’s the point of it.
“It’s a step up in class for me, I know that, but I know I’m ready for it.
“Things have been progressing a bit slow for me recently but this is exactly what I was after.
“It’s the type of fight to get you excited and I can’t wait.
“I know it’s going to be tough because he’s the type of fighter who makes life hard for you and he’s got the big level experience you can’t buy. “But when I get in there and do a job on him people are going to sit up and take notice.”
Wale is hoping to make an impact on the Dome show as it will be headlined by a contest for the titles he is so desperate to get his hands on.
British bantamweight champion Stuey Hall will defend his crown in a triple title scrap with Doncaster’s European and Commonwealth king Jamie McDonnell.
Wale said: “I fully expect Jamie to win that one and move onto world level.
“When he relinquishes the title I want to be right at the front of the queue to challenge for it, and beating Napa will put me there.
“And even if Hall does win, I want to be in his face to challenge him.”
Wale returned to the ring following a five month absence on Sunday night, blitzing overmatched Bulgarian Fikret Remziev in 152 seconds in Cleethorpes.
Remziev was downed with the first punch of the fight, a hefty right hook to the body, and was knocked to the canvas again with a fierce hook to the head.
He bravely rose again but was knocked down a final time with a crushing blow to the ribs.
And though Wale was looking for ring time, he made few apologies for his performance.
He said: “I was looking for the rounds to be honest.
“But you’re never going to change the way I am.
“When I get in the ring and I see an opponent and they’re vulnerable, I just want to destroy.
“I’ve never had a first punch knock down in 42 amateurs, 16 pro fights and all the hours of sparring.
“It was a great shot though and he showed a lot of character to get up.
“At this level, when I get in the ring with that kind of opponent, no disrespect to them, I just want to show what I can do them.
“You can’t do that as you move up the levels so it’s nice to do it when you get the chance.”
*For a full fight report, see p43 oF this week’s South Yorkshire Times.