Could Josh Wale meet Josh Warrington in an all-Yorkshire, world title encounter? This unlikely scenario doesn’t appear so outlandish after Wale’s latest victory and, crucially, if the Barnsley man can build upon it in 2020.
The former British Bantamweight Champion is now campaigning at 9st and, on November 29, dominated Ghana’s Felix Williams over 10 rounds to claim the African’s International Boxing Organisation (IBO) International Featherweight crown. The 31-year-old, 30-11-2 (14), says he feels rejuvenated at the new weight and, with promoter Dennis Hobson backing him, is ultimately aiming for a shot at the IBO world title, currently held by American-based Mongolian, Tugstsogt Nyambayar, 11-0 (9).
Warrington, meanwhile, is currently riding the crest of a wave as the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Featherweight king. The likeable ‘Leeds Warrior’, 30-0 (7), is one of British boxing’s real success stories, having beaten fellow ‘Brit’ Lee Selby to win his crown, before defending it three times, including a resounding win over Belfast’s Carl Frampton.
Wale – who challenged for the European Bantamweight Title in 2018, losing contentiously in France – is next out on February 21, 2020, when he will headline in his hometown at the Barnsley Metrodome. The genial dad of three, who is trained by his dad, Mick, is now looking forward to a Christmas break, but says this year has been one of the best of his career, and he will be ready to build on his progress in the New Year.
“I’m really proud at becoming a three weight champion,” said Josh, who is also a former Central Area Super Bantamweight Title holder. “I think this IBO belt is up there with winning the British Title, for me, just the way I’ve got myself back into the mix, and also with the performance against a hard puncher – I bullied the bully! I could tell in there that he could really punch. In the first round I was struggling with range but when I got back to my corner, my dad told me to keep close to him, and I thought I won most of the rounds afterwards.
“Winning this belt has pushed me up the world rankings, and that’s what we’re aiming for, we’re not messing about. Dennis [Hobson] promised me a title fight within three fights of signing with him, and we’ll see where we go from here. 2019 has been a good year, I’m ending it on top, and I can really enjoy Christmas with my family, and with a new belt in the house!
“In 2020, I want to box for a world title, that’s all I’ve got left to do in my career. That’s what we’re working towards, to keep winning, and be in position to fight for the [IBO] world title next year, and then I’ll be extremely happy.
“Dennis is the man to make it happen,” continued Josh, on the idea of an all-Yorkshire clash with Warrington. “I’d box anybody, and everyone knows that. Obviously we’re both from Yorkshire, and with me being a massive Barnsley fan, and Josh a massive Leeds fan, it would definitely generate lots of interest. Josh has done brilliantly with his career, he’s a world champion and it doesn’t get much better than that. If Dennis thinks he can make it happen though then great and I promise you one thing, you wouldn’t need a big ring!”