FABIO WARDLEY was working in an Ipswich office as a recruitment consultant, enjoying helping people find gainful employment.
But at 22, he decided a desk job wasn’t for him and that he was in need of a career change.
The new path Wardley took was not only totally illogical, but it appeared a recipe for disaster.
On the flimsy evidence of four white-collar contests Fabio made up his mind to be a professional boxer — and one day become the heavyweight champion of the world.
At 6ft 5in and a super-fit 16 stone plus, he certainly looks the part.
But with no amateur experience at all, the idea he would make a fearsome impression as soon as he started punching for pay was laughable.
Yet from the moment he began three years ago Wardley, 26, had the fight fraternity sitting up and taking notice.
He has won all his ten fights. His debut was a points win but the other nine were knockout victories — several of them spectacular.
That’s a remarkable feat for a total novice.
Wardley’s last two fights, featured on Sky, were particularly praiseworthy against battle-hardened campaigners.
Fabio finished off Simon Vallily, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, with a venomous left hook to take the English title.
Even more impressive was seeing him unload a picture-perfect right cross against Richard Lartey’s chin, laying him out cold in the second round at Wembley, six weeks ago.
The African received oxygen in the ring for several minutes before he recovered from that blow.
Wardley demolished Lartey 6mins, 28secs faster than Daniel Dubois had 19 months before.
And I believe that Wardley has the tools and ambition to set the British boxing scene alight in the next 12 months — Covid-19 permitting.
He is clearly intelligent enough. Not many fighters have thrown words like empathetic at me to make a point.
Managed by Dillian Whyte, he has also had the good sense to educate himself in the arts and crafts of the Noble Art.
He has sparred with all the top men, including Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Derek Chisora and Whyte.
But he has also found out early that he is now in the hurt business.
Training with Croatian Filip Hrgovic, he received a fractured eye socket — the same injury that Dubois suffered against Joe Joyce which forced him to take the knee.
Wardley refuses to criticise Dubois for what he did and said: “I know the pain and fear in your head when it happens.”
Everyone in Ipswich’s farming community knows a Suffolk Punch is a powerful draught horse once used to plough fields.
Suffolk Punch may take on a completely different connotation in the years ahead, thanks to Wardley’s two fists.