BLACKPOOL’S Brian Rose is one boxer who never short-changes his fans.
He has had to battle every step of the way to get to the pinnacle of the British light-middleweight division, and the work ethic and dedication to get to the top was clearly on show yet again at the Bowlers Arena in Manchester as he retained the championship with a unanimous points win.
Perhaps Rose was not at his best, but he was a worthy winner, and maximum credit should go to Kris Carslaw, who fought through the pain barrier by way of a nasty cut to the forehead to push the Blackpool man all the way.
Carslaw got an unexpected shot at the title and certainly made the most of it.
There was a raucous atmosphere outside the ring, with Rose’s supporters making their voices heard – not to be outdone Carslaw had his noisy backers too.
Bizarrely, even Bloomfield Bear, the Blackpool FC mascot was in attendance, and no one, be they bear or boxing aficionado, was disappointed with what unfolded over 12 enthralling rounds.
The action was close to call in the opening two sessions, but there was drama in the third when Carslaw, who had earlier caught Rose with a couple of upper-cuts, suffered a gash to the head.
Referee Howard Foster allowed the fight to continue, though for the rest of the contest the Scot was hampered by blood from the wound, which kept opening up and trickling down his face.
The rounds continued to be close, it was Rose who shaded it, though Carslaw was by no means out of it – he particularly impressed in the eighth, which he won, and suddenly Rose realised that he would have to dig even deeper to repel his rival.
To this observer, Rose was still three rounds ahead, but Carslaw, though never at any point threatening to put his man down, could not be subdued.
The Scot probably took the ninth as well to narrow the gap and increase the tension – Rose needed a good round in the 10th and he responded in style by dominating.
By the final two rounds, Carslaw needed to stop Rose, or put him down, to have any chance of victory, but in an increasingly fraught and frenzied atmosphere, it was the Blackpool man who held sway.
Fleetwood judge Steve Gray had Rose a conclusive winner 118-112, while Terry O’Connor marked it 116-113. Dave Parris had it wafer-thin at 115-114