ONE of Josh Wale’s former foes has become his closest ally as he prepares for his British super-bantamweight clash with unbeaten Brad Foster on March 8.
Wale has jetted out to the sun-kissed isle of Tenerife for a week of warm weather training and has been joined by former British and European champion Gavin McDonnell.
Josh and McDonnell shared 24 brutal rounds over two fights in 2013 and 2014, the second tussle being scored as a draw for the same 122Ibs prize that Wale will contest again next month.
They’ve become good friends away from the ring since and are both managed by South Yorkshire-based fight figure Stefy Bull.
“Who better to train with than a kid who’s fought for two world titles?” Josh said. “I’ve sparred and fought some of the best boxers out there but I couldn’t think of anyone better to help me in the run up to this fight.
“I’ve sparred Gavin and brother Jamie a few times and there’s great kids and true professionals. My manager, Stefy, also manages Gavin so it was easy to get Gavin on board for this training camp.
“We were never enemies anyway. When he boxed each other it was just business. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him and even though I was disappointed not to win the British title against him, you’ve got to take your hat off to him for everything he’s achieved since.”
Wale has the chance to write his name into the history books when he locks horns with Foster. A victory will make him the first boxer from Barnsley to have won the coveted Lonsdale belt at two weights.
He’ll also be the first Englishman to have held both the 8st 6lbs and 8st 10lbs crowns, following the successes of Scotsman Drew Docherty in the late 1990s.
“I’m immensely proud of my career but to be given the opportunity to become British champion at bantamweight and super-bantamweight is a huge honour,” Wale said.
“Brad Foster is young and hungry. This is a big thing for him so I expect him to come with his absolute best but during my career I’ve been in everybody and I’ve seen every style so I think I’ll have the answer whatever he brings.
“I don’t look too much at my opponents, I leave that to my dad and Stefy. They’ll give me the game plan and if I prepare my best then I know I can beat anyone on the night.”
Wale v Foster is entitled ‘History in the Making’ and takes place at the Barnsley Metrodome on Friday March 8. The event has a stellar undercard including a WBC International lightweight clash between unbeaten female fighters Terri Harper and Nina Bradley, as well as Rotherham’s all-action Lee Appleyard against 12-0 stylist Kieran McLaren in an English title eliminator.
Also in action are former two-weight Commonwealth champion Jason Cunningham, Hull southpaw Connor Coghill and unbeaten prospects Dom Hunt, Jimmy Joe Flint and Levi Kinsiona.