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Wardley: Clarke rematch is my decision

Fabio Wardley did not commit to a rematch in the immediate aftermath of his thrilling draw with Frazer Clarke.

Wardley and Clarke could not be separated after 12 rounds of compelling action at the O2 Arena on Easter Sunday.

It meant Wardley retained the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, but Clarke at once called for a rematch.

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Clarke and Wardley each give their reasons why they want a rematch

“It doesn’t have to be immediate. It doesn’t have to be at all, necessarily. I still have my belts. I still move forward. Again the ball’s still in my court. It’s still my decision,” Wardley told Sky Sports.

“We’ll look at the options. It was a good fight,” he continued. “I don’t know if I can do too many of those in my career, take off too much, put my family and friends through too much panic.

“We’ll look at things. We’ll have a chat with the team, we’ll reassess. There are some things on my end I need to sort first and then we’ll go again.”

That rematch though could headline at a stadium. “Portman Road is always on the cards. It’s one the club want, it’s one I want. We did the O2. I think the next step from that is a stadium of some sort,” Wardley said.

“So maybe if we do come all the way round to it and go again, that’s a very viable option.”

Wardley did knock down Clarke in the fifth round and the latter was also deducted a point for a low blow.

But the champion did not dwell on the drawn result. “I’m not going to start bashing the refs or bashing the judges, that’s not my style. It was what it was. It was judged however it was judged,” he said.

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Watch highlights of Wardley’s draw with Clarke as the Ipswich-based fighter retained the British and Commonwealth heavyweight championships at the O2 Arena

“Ultimately it was on me to do more in a fight to make it more convincing evidently. Next time around, if we get on, that’s what I’ll be doing.

“There’s positives and negatives to be taken from that. There’s parts of the performance I’m proud of, parts of the performance I’m not so proud of. But overall it was a good night of boxing. Maybe not so much boxing, maybe fighting but still.

“It’s all I’ve done in my career to date, have fights that are good, bad, hard, easy and improve and this will be no different.”

Despite the bitterness of the lead-up to the fight, Wardley was left with a new respect for Clarke.

“I said a lot in the build-up about his heart and seeing whether it’s there and turning up on the night and how he reacts under the lights and look, he did his bit. He reacted well,” he said.

“All credit to him, you need the right dance partner for massive nights like this, massive moments in my career and credit and thanks to him for being that for me.”

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Natasha Jonas and Johnny Nelson analyse Clarke’s three low blows against Wardley

Ben Shalom, who promoted the event, wants to make that rematch next.

“We’d love to do it straight away,” Shalom told Sky Sports. “I do think Fabio, from looking at his face and I think his nose might be broken there, what a tough man, he’ll need some time. Whenever Fabio’s ready really.

“Fabio deserves a huge amount of credit because I’ve never seen someone out on their feet but equally so dangerous at the same time. His face was mashed up at times and he kept coming. I think the knockdown and the point deduction probably swung it towards a draw.”

But he added: “No one deserved to lose.”

The saga between the pair will continue, especially if the rematch is next.

“It’s been a story that’s lasted for 12-18 months,” Shalom said. “Did we ever think Wardley-Clarke would continue? And it does continue. The chapter’s not finished. Incredible night and both guys deserves a lot of credit.”

Whyte: Wardley won by two rounds

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Dillian Whyte believes Fabio Wardley beat Frazer Clarke ‘by two rounds’ and gives his views on a potential rematch between the two heavyweights.

Wardley’s mentor Dillian Whyte says he believed the champion did enough to edge the contest after scoring the early knockdown.

“I thought Fabio was always winning the fight and always up on the scorecards,” Whyte told Sky Sports.

“With him being the champion, Frazer was the one always having to do more to win it. Credit to Frazer, he kept his composure and fought well.

“Fabio showed in fights before that he can always pull it out the bag when he needed to.

“I was worried, but I had faith in him he could pull it out the bag when he needed. I fought Fabio had it by two rounds and as the champion he did enough with the heart he showed.

“I thought he was dominating the end of rounds as well, I thought he won it by two rounds.”

Whyte added that he will leave Wardley to rest and recover before revisiting conversations over a potential rematch between the pair.

“We will have to wait and see,” said Whyte.

“Fabio will go home and rest and we’ll speak in a week or two because there’s no point in speaking to him now, he’s got a lot of emotions in his body, he’s just been through a massive adrenaline dump up and down so sometimes it’s not good to speak to fighters like that.

“I’ll give him a break, let him relax and enjoy the fight and then we will speak in a week or two.”

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