Anthony Fowler returns to Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday night, the first time since his March 2019 loss to domestic rival and current British super welterweight champion, Scott Fitzgerald (14-0). Whilst Scott is not fighting on Saturday (he may be in attendance), and thus would appear an unusual introductory inclusion, especially so soon into a fight preview, his spectre looms large over this fight.
Eddie Hearn has suggested that should Fowler win on Saturday, to become the English super welterweight champion, a rematch and stadium fight (Deepdale in Fitzgerald’s home city of Preston) against Fitzgerald shall be his reward.
Saturday’s opponent is Harry Scarff (8-0), a fighter who has spent the majority of his professional career as a middleweight. This will be only his second professional fight at super welterweight, and his first fight since becoming English champion – he defeated Jack Flatley (15-1-1) via unanimous decision back in September.
Fowler’s last fight was in August, a unanimous decision victory to become the WBO inter-continental middleweight champion. He defeated credible opponent Brian Rose (31-6-1) over 10 rounds, losing only two rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards and three on the other.
In the preparation for this fight, Fowler has refocused, overcome and pushed himself beyond previously unfathomed depths. His trainer, Dave Coldwell, has also noticed a change in his charge’s approach, describing him as ‘showing the kind of hunger that really impresses me. The Fitzgerald loss gave him a few things to think about, and I’m impressed with how he’s responded.’
Becoming an English champion would, therefore, reward Fowler’s dedication and thus give him a belt and an augmenting marketing chip to use in the Fitzgerald rematch promotion. Lose and that rematch will be shelved pending future review. There is significant clamor, and one I agree with, suggesting that Fowler should be made to face one of Ted Cheeseman (15-2-1) or Kieran Conway (13-1-1) before any possible Fitzgerald rematch should be considered (Fitzgerald beat Cheeseman to become British super welterweight champion in October). But this is boxing, and we don’t always get what we want, what we need, or even what we deserve.
As Dave Coldwell states, ‘Fowler was a brilliant amateur who fought at the highest level and he wants to do the same as a professional.’ Saturday isn’t at the highest level, yet it’s an important steppingstone. Follow the action on Saturday night to see how he gets on.