Harry Pratt

Rose in no rush after easy defense against Maxwell

Rising junior middleweight Brian Rose produced a rock-solid display in his hometown of Blackpool, England, on Saturday, heavily out-pointing unfancied journeyman Max Maxwell to retain the British title.

All three of the judges’ cards had the titleholder securing a successful first defense by wide margins. Scores were 119-110, 119-110, and 119-111, all for Rose.

Victory also meant revenge for the only defeat of Rose’s career — a shock sixth-round knockout suffered at the hands of Maxwell in June 2010. The 27-year-old Lancashire fighter, who had claimed the domestic belt in December with a split decision over Prince Arron, now has an improving record of 19-1-1, five inside the distance.

But he will not be rushed towards the top of the 154-pound division, according to promoter Frank Maloney, who knows a thing or two about ensuring his boxers fulfil their true potential.

I’d like to see him make another defense before the summer and I would love to come back here again. The atmosphere here was first-class,” said Maloney. “To build boxing here in Blackpool would be great. We’ll sit down with his manager Steve Woods and work something out.”

Rose is happy to go along with whatever Maloney, who used to manage former heavyweight titleholder Lennox Lewis, decides is best.

I’ve heard Prince Arron has moved up to middleweight — I know he gave me my chance but it’s not a fight I’m looking at. I will fight whoever is next in line and that is up to Frank Maloney,” said Rose. “There is a Sam Webb-Matthew Hall eliminator (Apr 28) but I am not going to start shouting out opponents because I am not like that. I’ve not got to where I am doing that. I will just box whoever I’ve got to fight.”

In contrast to his first meeting with Maxwell, Rose was always on top in an excellent, relentless contest at a packed-out Winter Gardens. Underlining his progress since that loss, he rarely allowed himself to be cornered or pinned to the ropes for too long, aware of Maxwell‘s punching power. The Rose jab was pin-point and full of purpose, while he intermittently staggered the Midlands challenger with ferocious straight lefts.

Credit must go to 32-year-old Maxwell (15-11-3, 3 KOs). Deemed by many as unworthy of a title shot, the Birmingham battler demonstrated the complete reverse, refusing to become disheartened when losing round after round. Instead, he poured forward at every conceivable opportunity and, in the latter stages, even gave the impression he might be able to stop Rose again.

I was being a bit macho at times and it was hard not to because of what he did to me last time,” said Rose. “I wanted to prove I could stand there. I shouldn’t have done it but I’ve come through the fight and I will learn from it. But Max is very tough. I was surprised how strong he was. The last time he cut it short and knocked me out in the sixth. This time I had to do the full 12.”


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