Anthony Fowler vs Brian Rose ends in home city victory for the Liverpudlian after his setback against Scott Fitzgerald
Much was made in the build-up to Anthony Fowler vs Brian Rose, a 10-round all-British battle for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental middleweight title, of the need for the latter, a former British champion and world title challenger, to retire if he lost. That said, Fowler, despite being six years the younger man at 28, would likely consider his own future following a second consecutive defeat, having suffered a humbling setback against Scott Fitzgerald in March.
As it transpired, at the Exhibition Centre in Olympian Fowler’s home city of Liverpool, the pattern was set from the first round as the local man proved able to outjab Rose, who relies heavily on his lead. Fowler took the initiative from there on, despite being a little more circumspect than usual, perhaps having learned lessons from the Fitzgerald reverse.
Both men could presumably still make super-welter, given Blackpool’s Rose was 1 1/4lbs over that division’s limit, Fowler 2 1/2lbs. Rose, marginally taller, felt he was in the shape of his life despite the veteran status he enjoyed, but did not throw enough or show sufficient ambition to seriously trouble Fowler in the first half. “The Lion” landed some good right hands but they were rare and he appeared content to try and counter off the backfoot, while Fowler came forward, belabouring his rival’s midsection, albeit straying low a few times.
By the start of the fifth I had not awarded Rose a round and his position as the significant pre-fight underdog looked fully justified. Producing a patient, controlled display was exactly what Fowler needed after the war with Fitzgerald in which he may have become too emotionally involved. From a viewers’ point of view however, it became a little repetitive if not tedious. Rose provided some classy cameos, including a neat right uppercut in the eighth as he showed some spirit and the fight belatedly came to life, but Fowler was still outboxing and outworking him for the most part.
Fowler, despite being cut from a head-clash in the penultimate round, stayed focused then nearly halted Rose in a thrilling 10th. He merited the judges’ scores of 98-92 (twice) and 97-93.
Rose did not disgrace himself by any means but, unless he wants to become an opponent for a succession of prospects, it would be wise to call it a day.