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by Jordan Neild

A really entertaining night of boxing unfolded at the Exhibition centre in Liverpool on Friday evening as Anthony Fowler bounced back to winning ways with a unanimous decision victory over the well-travelled, Brian Rose.

All eyes were on Anthony Fowler as he entered the ring for the first time since the high-profile loss to his bitter rival, Scott Fitzgerald in March. The fight was billed as a “cross roads” clash during fight week and it turned out to be just that. Although Fowler eventually won the fight comfortably on the scorecards, there were times when Rose was having pockets of success throughout the fight, but noticeably Fowler adapted much better to being under pressure than he did against Fitzgerald.

Fowler was clearly anxious during the pre-fight formalities but once the bell went, he was displaying the boxing ability that allowed him to reach the Olympic Games as an amateur.

His jab was a lot sharper and allowed him to dictate the majority of the fight.

But Rose, to his credit, kept Fowler honest for the whole ten rounds and landed some clean right hands in the middle rounds. As the fight reached its conclusion, Fowler hurt Rose badly in the tenth but the Blackpool man pulled on every ounce of experience to survive the onslaught to hear the final bell, which he deserved to do.

Ultimately, this fight was a gauge to see exactly where both fighters were at and the crowd got their answer. Fowler isn’t the finished article but, he was noticeably more attentive to the instruction coming from his trainer, Dave Coldwell, which was something he was lacking earlier in the year and he has added a very creditable name to his record and now resumes his journey back towards the top of the domestic rankings.

For Brian Rose, he showed that the ability that once got him a world title shot is still there, but it may be a case of operating a significantly lower level. Whatever Brian Rose decides to do from this point, he has been a very good addition to British boxing in recent times and should be credited for that.

The chief support for the evening saw Jack Cullen and Londoner John Harding Jr clash for the English Middleweight Title. The fight was fought at a frantic pace and was a credit to the historic English Title. Both fighters left everything in the ring but, the cleaner and more spiteful work was coming from the defending champion, Jack Cullen and he was landing some heavy left hands from as early as the first round.

Harding Jr, displayed a very impressive chin in the opening four rounds as he soaked up clean shots and waved Cullen on for more. Despite launching his own attacks, it always felt like Harding Jr was most vulnerable when he was being countered by Cullen who had a clear power advantage.

As the fight moved into the middle rounds, Cullen began to repeatedly hurt Harding Jr and put him down with a heavy shot in the fifth. The Londoner got to his feet and survived the round but was clearly still hurt going into the sixth. As the rounds progressed, Harding Jr was displaying an immense level of bravery as he refused to back down from the constant Cullen pressure.

Eventually in the eighth round, referee Bob Williams correctly halted the contest after another Cullen onslaught, much to the delight of the travelling Cullen support. Echoes of “Eddie sign him up” rung around the venue and it won’t be long before we see Jack Cullen back on the big stage, with a possible clash with Commonwealth champion, Felix Cash, being discussed.

Perhaps the story of the night came from two separate fights. Robbie Davies Jr and Lewis Ritson appeared in low key “keep busy” fights on the card and both men stopped their respective opponents within three rounds. However, the two fighters exchanged heated words in the changing room area and it seems like another domestic rivalry is heating up in the 140lb division.

The two fights were fairly straightforward for the two brits with their opponents clearly out of their depth but as we move into the second half of 2019, a clash between these two will attract interest from the public, whether it was to land in Newcastle or Liverpool. Both men have exciting styles, can end the fight at any time and both have been hurt in the past, it has all the makings of a classic British domestic rivalry.

Further down the card, there was an upset as previously unbeaten bantamweight Sean Mcgoldrick was outpointed by the awkward, and often underestimated, Thomas Essomba over ten rounds.

Essomba is a lot better than his record suggests and seemed to be the sharper man from the very opening bell. Neither fighter looked to be carrying the power that could end the fight early but the cleaner and more eye-catching work was coming from Essomba throughout the whole fight.

The fight remained competitive up to the final bell, but Essomba’s work rate allowed him to pull away on the scorecards in the final few rounds.

Elsewhere, heavyweight Martin Bakole dispatched of his opponent within one minute and twenty seconds on his Matchroom debut as he begins to look at bigger fights in the Autumn. Standout amateur star Qais Ashfaq got a credible win on his record as he outpointed the tough Sean Davis over eight rounds.

John Docherty, Thomas Whittaker Hart and Dylan Evans also continued there development earlier in the night whilst Nathan Farrell made his professional debut.

Photo Credit - Sky Sports Boxing


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