osh Wale is on the comeback trail and hoping to win a belt that has previously eluded him – the Commonwealth Title. The former British Bantamweight king will be one of the bill toppers at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on July 5, facing Ghana’s Ekow Wilson in an eliminator for the Commonwealth Featherweight crown.
Josh has twice contested the Commonwealth Title previously – against Stuart Hall in 2012, and Gamal Yafai in 2016 – coming up short on both occasions. The Barnsley man, who has teamed up with promoter Dennis Hobson, is confident that if he can eventually claim the title this time around, it could lead to an eventual world title shot.
Wale, 31, has already had a long career. The experienced, 40-fight veteran knows he cannot take his African opponent lightly on July 5. Hard-hitting Wilson, who has 16 KOs from 18 wins, with only three losses on his ledger, will fight for the first time away from home and be determined to make the most of his opportunity.
Also co-headlining on the night will be Sheffield’s Tommy Frank, who will make the first defence of his Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title against Tanzania’s Jemsi kibazange.
“My coach has watched a few of his fights on YouTube, so we’ve got an idea of what he’ll be about,” explained Wale. “He’s got a good record, and it will be a good fight for me at featherweight. Training is going well, I’m feeling strong, sharp and looking forward to it.
“Obviously he’s knocked 16 opponents out, so he must be able to punch, and I’ll have to watch that. But we’ll have a game plan, and I’ll go in and stick to it. I’ve done lots of camps over the years, and I’m really enjoying this one. I can feel the benefit of being up at featherweight.
“Dennis wants us to go down the Commonwealth route and get a higher ranking, and then push on. I’ve won English and British Titles and fought for the European, but I’ve not won the Commonwealth. I’ve fought for it twice before, so hopefully it will be third-time lucky, and at featherweight I feel like my best days are still to come.
“Dennis is good at his job and knows what he’s doing, and we’ve seen [with Stuart Hall] that winning the Commonwealth can lead to a world title shot. It wasn’t my night against Hall, but it’s fine margins in boxing and it could have been me in that position. I feel now that I’m at my peak and I was probably a bit young at that stage of my career. This is the right time for me.”
Yorkshire fighters, Tommy Frank and Josh Wale will share the spotlight on July 5, when they co-headline a show at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena, live on Freesports (Freeview 64; Sky 422; Virgin 553; Freesat 252; TalkTalk 64; BT 64).
The pair, part of the Dennis Hobson Promotions stable, are at different stages of their careers, but both are equally ambitious and convinced they can add more titles to their ledgers.
Sheffield’s Frank, unbeaten in 10 fights, is coming off the back of a career-best performance after beating Ulsterman Luke Wilton in four blistering rounds in March to claim the Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title. The 25-year-old will be having his second fight of 2019 in July, and is excited about moving his career another step forward.
“Life has been good since winning the Commonwealth belt,” said Tommy. “I won the title on March 15, which was a massive achievement, and topped the bill again in my home city. Then just a week later, me and my girlfriend got accepted our first house. So, life is really good and I’m just going to keep building on things. The next step is July 5th, it’s going to be a massive Sheffield show and I couldn’t be happier. I think we’re aiming to go down the IBF route next. I’ve got a big domestic title already which opens up a lot of doors, but we’re plotting a course to where we want to be, and obviously the end goal is to be a world champion.”
Barnsley’s Wale, 27-11-2 (13), has been a pro since 2006. The former British Bantamweight champion has already fought some of Britain’s best little-men in his career – including Gamal Yafai, Gavin McDonnell, Stuart Hall and Kid Galahad. Having recently lost a European Title shot in France, and a British Title attempt at Super Bantamweight – Josh will now resume his journey at featherweight, where he feels he still has more to give.
“I’ve teamed up with Dennis [Hobson] now, and hopefully it can be the best chapter of my career,” explained Josh. “I still want to box for a world title, and I think Dennis can bring me that. I should have been crowned European Champion but got ripped off in France, so I’m not that far away really. My last performance wasn’t good but I’m freshening things up with Dennis, moving to featherweight, and like I’ve done in my career all along, will prove people wrong.
“I’ve fought everybody at bantam and super bantamweight, and I know there’s still a lot more for me to give. I’m 31 now and the move to featherweight will make a big difference. All through my amateur career I boxed for England and won national titles at featherweight, and I only came down in weight as a professional. It will refresh me, and I’ll have more energy at that weight.
“I’ve got a big fan base, Barnsley has really got behind me. Last time I was at Ponds Forge was February last year when I beat Bobby Jenkinson, defending my British Title. It was a brilliant show that Dennis put on that night and hopefully we can emulate that again on July 5.”