Wale eyes title trilogy
Barnsley battler Josh Wale fought back the tears after agonisingly missing out on the British super-bantamweight title on Wednesday night.
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Wale had to settle for a draw against defending Gavin McDonnell at the Leeds Arena, despite many ringside observers feeling he had done enough to win it.
In the end, two judges scored it 115-114 either way, with the third card reading 114-114 to ensure Doncaster's McDonnell clung on to his belt, although the champion was quick to promise his valiant opponent another shot after a full-blooded and bruising Yorkshire derby.
It was the second time the pair had met, with McDonnell having won the first fight on points but it looks as though a third instalment is on the cards.
"I was upset at the end - everyone at ringside had me winning it and I thought I'd done enough to win it too," said 26-year-old Wale (16-6-2 9KOs).
"He was hitting me but a lot of his punches were hitting my gloves. I was getting in the more solid shots that were counting.
"I put so much work in and I thought I'd got it. I've had that much bad luck in my life with what has happened to my family that I thought today might just be my day. I'm not going to get too upset because I know I've done well and I've got the moral victory which is nice.
"Credit to Gavin because he is a tough lad and I have 100 per cent respect for him for giving me the fight. But I can't get away from the fact that I thought I won it."
It was a relentless, brutal contest with Wale continuously marching forward and appearing to have the greater success in the earlier rounds.
Both men marked up badly as the action continued apace into the later stages, each man responding when the other looked to be getting on top.
But McDonnell managed to find some reserves to finish the contest slightly the better of the two and his work obviously caught the eye of the judges.
"We both threw a lot of punches but that's what it's all about," said Wale.
"Some people had paid £120 to watch me box - I sold six tickets at that price ... my own dad wouldn't pay £120 to watch me so I had to give them something to shout about!
"I've got the heart of a lion. I just keep on going and next time I think I'll do it - but I think I'm going to have to win by knockout to make sure!
"I just wanted to win for my family and especially my dad - I wanted to make everyone proud.
"I'd love to do it for a third time and Gav said the same - he's a real fighter. I mean who would want to go through that again after everyone is telling him that I've won.
"But he said he'll do it which is the kind of kid he is and [promoter] Eddie Hearn said he'll put it on as well so I'm happy about that.
"I really wanted that belt ... my dad said to me on the way here that there's no more tears now, just to do myself proud. So if I've made my dad proud then I'm happy because he's my world."