Suffolk boxing star Fabio Wardley admits he was thinking about his mum as he went to war with Frazer Clarke in an all-time classic heavyweight title fight.

The heavy-handed Ipswich boxer retained his British and Commonwealth titles on a split draw with Olympic bronze medallist Clarke at the O2 Arena last night.

READ MORE: Wardley retains titles in a classic fight at the O2

But that only tells half the story - Wardley finished with blood streaked across his face from a cut to his nose, while Clarke could barely stand at the end of the thrilling contest.

East Anglian Daily Times: Even with blood streaked across his face, Fabio Wardley was relentless in his pursuit of Frazer ClarkeEven with blood streaked across his face, Fabio Wardley was relentless in his pursuit of Frazer Clarke (Image: Ross Halls)
Wardley, now 17-0-1 (16KO) dropped Clarke heavily in the fifth round, before his foe was deducted a point in the seventh for repeated low blows.

Both men had their moments in what was a close, compelling, blood and guts war. Scores were 114-113 Wardley, 115-112 Clarke and 113-113.

Speaking after the fight, wearing the white third kit of his beloved Ipswich Town, Wardley was asked what went through his head as the punches and blood were flying.

“I was worried about my mum – I was like ‘she’s not going to like this’," he said, of mum Shonni-leigh.

“She was sat ringside, so I knew they weren’t going to be enjoying this one!

RECAP: Relive the action from the O2 Arena

“It’s hard to explain – when you’re in the thick of it, you’re just worried about what I’m trying to do, trying to avoid what he’s doing.

“Your brain’s constantly going and I’m constantly thinking and trying to come up with different things – what works and what doesn’t.

“I’m not focused on anything else – just what’s in front of me.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke went to war at the O2 ArenaFabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke went to war at the O2 Arena (Image: Ross Halls)
Of the fight, he continued: “That fight was one for the history books. That British title brings out a lot in people and it definitely brought out the best in us.

“We know how much that belt means to people, and to us, and we put on a hell of a show.”

Wardley added: "My war was coming sooner or later. I don’t want to be in too many more of them, I’ve probably knocked off a few years of my life – but it’s all in the name of a good bit of fun.”

Asked about his nose, which appeared to be broken in the scrap, he stressed: “My nose has seen better days! It’s not broken, it’s just a consistent thing, I’ve had a scar on there for a while now and it keeps opening up.

“It’s not the most helpful in the middle of a fight, but it’s not broken, it’s perfectly fine.

“It was just more of an annoyance to be honest – blood getting in my mouth, and my eyes. When you’re in the middle of a fight like that you’re not going ‘ouch, that hurts’, you’re just cracking on and trying to get the job done.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Fabio Wardley speaks to the media post-fightFabio Wardley speaks to the media post-fight (Image: Ross Halls)
Of Clarke, who's now 8-0-1 (6KO), the Suffolk puncher said: “He was probably tougher than I expected. When he went down I thought ‘ok, cool, here we go – I’ll get him out of there.’

“But he got up and weathered the storm. I had him going a few times in the fight and he got through them.

“Credit to him for being a strong, brave man in that ring.”

Promoter Ben Shalom shared the view of many watching on that the fight was one of the best-ever seen for the prestigious British belt.

He was also full of praise for Wardley.

East Anglian Daily Times: Fabio Wardley retained his belts on the drawFabio Wardley retained his belts on the draw (Image: Lawrence Lustig/Boxxer)
"It was incredible," he said. "We knew Fabio had heart, but to be that dangerous even when he’s hurting and to keep coming, it was special – from both of them.

“Everyone got a classic fight, and those late rounds when both of them were out on their feet, but just kept coming… Fabio’s face was a sight to behold.

“And he just kept coming. At no point did I feel like Frazer didn’t have to be careful, and that says a lot about Fabio.

“It was an unbelievable fight, and hopefully one that the fans will get to see again – but I’m just delighted they got such a classic.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Wardley dropped Clarke at the end of the fifth roundWardley dropped Clarke at the end of the fifth round (Image: Lawrence Lustig/Boxxer)
Clarke said he was 'gutted' not to have his hand raised, but admitted to being impressed with his opponent.

“We knew he was tough," the Burton boxer said. "We’ve seen it before, when he gets hit he comes alive.

“I was expecting that. I’m just kicking myself a little bit, you just think ‘why didn’t I turn the screw?’ because at one point you feel his energy just go.

“But on the other hand, this is a man who’s had so many knock-outs that you have to be wary.

“I wouldn’t say he’s the biggest puncher I’ve ever been in with, but he definitely hits hard enough to make you wary of going at him.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Fabio Wardley showed incredible heart in his clash with Frazer ClarkeFabio Wardley showed incredible heart in his clash with Frazer Clarke (Image: Ross Halls)
The fight was billed as a match up between the amateur boxing pedigree of Clarke and the raw power of Wardley, who turned professional after just four white collar fights.

Asked to reflect on his journey to this point, Wardley said: “It’s massive, a hell of a story – a few more of those and maybe Netflix will get on the phone!

“Even just on the walk up here, Rob (Hodgins, his head coach) was nudging me and saying ‘look where you are after four white collar fights, you’re headlining the O2, you stacked it out, 15,000 people in there to watch you, just a little old white collar fighter from Ipswich.’

“There’s a lot to proud of, and I’m also massively proud to be able to bring my team with me.

"All the people you see around me have been with me since day dot, there’s not too many new faces.

“That’s because I trust that the people I trust, the people I love, will be with me to the end.”