Josh Wale chases his lifelong dream

Josh Wale
Josh Wale

The majority of Josh Wale’s life has been building to next Wednesday night.

The Brampton fighter is quite blunt when summing up what fighting for a British title means to him.

Since the age of eight his focus has been squarely on grasping the Lord Lonsdale belt.

In the 18 years that have followed, Wale’s life has been lived with that goal in mind.

He has shunned partying, booze and all the hallmarks of a young lad’s life.

But Wale regrets nothing and insists it will all be worth it if he beats Gavin McDonnell in Leeds on Wednesday and finally claims the British crown he so desires.

“I’ve never been one of those kids who’s talked about winning a world title,” Wale told the Times.

“From day one, at the age of eight, my main goal was to become British champion.

“You would never have caught me out drinking. I’ve turned down lads’ holidays.

“I’ve been an absolute saint because this one dream has been at the front of my mind for all that time.

“I’ve fought for Commonwealth titles, International titles but this fight next week is the biggest fight of my career.

“It’s all been building towards this and I’m absolutely determined to make it happen.

“Gavin McDonnell is going be facing a completely different Josh Wale.

“He’s said himself the British title will bring even more out of both of us.

“I’m going to prove that to him in the ring.”

Something that nags Wale is a feeling of unfulfilled potential.

He burst into the professional ranks as one of the most exciting fighters around, barrelling opponents out of the way with assaults of sheer shock and awe.

But while proving himself to be worthy of sitting among the domestic elite, he has yet to take the big step of becoming a champion.

He said: “I don’t think I’ve managed to live up to my potential.

“I’m better than I think I’ve shown over the last few years.

“I’ve stood in there with and stood up to some of the best. Stuart Hall’s a world champion now, Kid Galahad is sweeping up and seems destined to be a world champion.

“But I’ve not quite got over the line and got that big win.

“This is an unbelievable opportunity for me to finally do that and open the door up to the next level.

“You never want to look past anything but you can’t help but imagine what could come next if I win it.”

After going through 12 gruelling rounds in September, Wale and McDonnell will probably feel they know each other inside out.

At the end, the points verdicts put McDonnell as a clear winner. Yet while he looked in control for much of the bout, Wale was never that far behind.

And that puts him in a strong position to find that bit extra this time around.

Wale said: “There were a few things that didn’t go right for me on the night.

“Gav was a lot more awkward than I imagined and I struggled to find my rhythm.

“I know what to expect more from him this time around.

“And one of the big things that stood out from me was that I didn’t really use my strength.

“People know that strength is one of my big attributes but I don’t think I ever really showed that.

“I had him in some good positions but never really took advantage of it and made it count.

“Things like that stick in your mind and I’ll be looking to make sure I leave no stone unturned this time around.”

One of the most fascinating things about boxing is that two men can be preparing to beat each other up for 12 rounds yet have a tremendous amount of respect and liking for each other.

The mutual respect between Wale and McDonnell has been clear to see throughout the build-up to both their fights.

Wale said: “Gav is a great lad and there is no needle between us.

“My respect for him has gone up since he picked me for this defence.

“He’s said all along I was his toughest opponent and he said the first fight was a lot closer than the judges gave it.

“For him to have his first defence against me is a big call for him and I respect him a lot for that.

“But I’m going to show him it was a big mistake.”