A 10-ROUND middleweight contest headlines at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool this Friday (August 2), as local Anthony Fowler, 9-1 (8), opposes Blackpool’s Brian Rose, 31-5-1 (8), live on Sky Sports Action (UK) and DAZN (US).

The fight was originally due to take place on the undercard of Lawrence Okolie’s British and Commonwealth cruiserweight title defence against Jack Massey in Manchester on July 6. However, an arm injury suffered by the challenger led the entire show to be scrapped just eight days prior to the event. The Fowler-Rose clash was subsequently postponed three weeks and shifted 35 miles west to Merseyside.

Initially, Fowler and Rose were not even assigned to meet, as Rose was scheduled to box Scott Fitzgerald on the Manchester card. Fowler only stepped in as a late replacement when Fitzgerald damaged his hand during sparring in June. Just over two months beforehand, Fowler had dropped a razor-thin split decision to Fitzgerald in their bitter battle of unbeatens at super-welterweight.

Rose is an experienced and technically skilled operator with a good jab. Over the years he has mixed with some well-known names like Vivian Harris (w ko 3), Joachim Alcine (w rsf 12), Demetrius Andrade (l rsf 7), Carson Jones (twice – l rsf 1 & w ud 12) and Matthew Macklin (l md 12). A former British champion and WBO title contestant at super-welter, Rose undoubtedly has a solid pedigree, but he hasn’t been very active in recent times and, at 34, has seen better days.

While Rose’s appearances have been sporadic of late, 2016 Olympian Fowler has had frequent ring time since turning professional in May 2017. With this in mind, the fit, aggressive and hard-hitting 28-year-old is the pick to prevail on points, although a late stoppage is not out of the question.

An intriguing super-lightweight 10-rounder between Forest Hall’s ex-British lightweight king Lewis Ritson and Malmesbury’s previous European 140lb ruler Joe Hughes had been set to act as the chief support. Unfortunately, Hughes had to pull out at late notice due to injury. Ritson, 18-1 (11), will still feature on the bill against an as-yet-unnamed adversary.

Lewis Ritson
Action Images/Craig Brough

Ritson is reportedly being lined up to face Kirkby’s Robbie Davies Jnr, 18-1 (12), in Newcastle in October. Davies’ two most recent outings have seen him collect British, Commonwealth and European honours at super-light. He is slated for an eight-round run-out on this card. An opponent is yet to be confirmed.

Over eight at heavyweight, Airdrie-based Congo native Martin Bakole, 12-1 (9), takes on Ecuadorian Ytalo Perea, 11-4-2 (7), who has so far failed to translate his significant amateur success to the pro game. The Guayaquil resident boxed at the 2012 Olympics but has been beaten in two of his last three bouts.

Bakole will enjoy a marked size advantage over Perea, so expect his forceful two-fisted assaults to result in a win on the scorecards in what will be his first contest since signing a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing.

Elsewhere on the show, there is a bantamweight 10-rounder matching two men who both had fruitful careers in the unpaid ranks. Newport’s Sean McGoldrick, 9-0 (2), vies with Cameroon’s former Commonwealth flyweight boss Thomas Essomba, 8-5 (3), who resides in Ryhope.

Also over 10, Little Lever’s “Meat Cleaver” Jack Cullen, 16-1 (7), defends his English middleweight crown for the first time. Brixton’s John Harding Jnr, 7-0-1 (1), is the challenger.

In a super-bantam eight, Leeds southpaw Qais Ashfaq, 6-0 (3) – a teammate of Anthony Fowler at the 2016 Games – comes up against Birmingham’s Sean Davis, 14-3, who has previously competed for the British belt.  

THE VERDICT For whoever loses in the main event it will be a hammer blow to their future prospects.