This weekend’s crossover clash between WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, and former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, will likely end up being little more than a showcase for ‘The Gypsy King’ but fortunately, you don’t need to look too far down the undercard for an eye catching and meaningful heavyweight fight.
In the chief support bout, British heavyweight champion, Fabio Wardley (16-0, 15 KO’s), defends his title against David Adeleye (12-0, 11 KO’s), in an intriguing clash of unbeaten prospects.
Wardley and Adeleye have developed a natural rivalry over the past few months. They have sold the fight brilliantly, now they have the chance to perform on the biggest stage imaginable.
Hostilities peaked when Adeleye and Wardley bumped into each other at the red carpet event to launch the whole Fury-Ngannou show. The fighters and their teams ended up in brawl and Wardley emerged from the melee with a couple of cuts on his face. There has been a tense ceasefire since. The fighters have exchanged the occasional insult and last week they engaged in an entertaining press conference, but on the whole it seems like they have wisely shifted their attentions to the actual fight.
Far from accepting that his approach was an act designed to stoke up interest in the fight and provoke Wardley into losing his cool, Adeleye believes that the Ipswich man’s reserved, aloof demeanour is all a front designed to win over the fans. Adeleye insists that his sole interest is winning Saturday’s fight and the British heavyweight title rather than any plaudits.
“He’s scripted. He’s one of them guys that wants to be liked and all that other stuff,” Adeleye told Wardley at a TNT Face-Off hosted by Carl Frampton. “He talks about having people come support and he’s scripted. He ain’t organic. You look at the label on him and there’s a lot of preservatives put in him.
“It doesn’t really matter [about being liked by the fans] because at the end of the day, when everyone’s career’s done they’re gonna go on to the next person anyway. It’s the people who’s opinion I value, that’s what matters. A lot of people like me. I get a lot of good messages. There’s always love when people see me out on the street. I think it’s just the people up in Ipswich that don’t like me but I’m alright with that, I don’t ever have to go to Ipswich.
“I might go there just to rub it in when I win all the belts. I might go there, put the belts on the table, eat in his local cafe just to say I’m there.”