Champ turns on the power for Blackpool

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PUNCH perfect...

And what a punch it was as Brian Rose scored the first knockout of his career to slay former world champion Vivian Harris at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

On a memorable night which saw all five local boxers on the show win, it was British light-middleweight champion Rose who stole everyone’s thunder.

And it was a thunderous knockout, which happened a minute and 48 seconds into the third round and completely stiffened former world light-welterweight ruler Harris.

No-one saw it coming – least of all Harris – after two tentative rounds had preceded the dramatic, power-packed finale.

Rose, boxing cautiously at first, caught Harris with a right which opened up his opponent, then the Blackpool fighter exposed a gap in Harris’ defences in ruthless style with the ferocious follow-up.

There was no way that Harris, from Guyana but now based in the United States, was going to beat the count of Fleetwood star-class referee Steve Gray.

n FROM BACK

It was a magic moment that sent the Winter Gardens crowd wild. Rose said: “I knew as soon as the shot landed that he wasn’t going to get up.

“I have never had that feeling before – it was a punch that would have knocked anyone out. It was a heavy shot, and I felt it all the way through my arm and shoulder.

“Bobby Rimmer (trainer) has always said I have power, though I always knew I was technically sound. I didn’t believe it before but now it’s time I started believing in my power. It was the best feeling ever.”

Rimmer said: “Brian’s power did not surprise me because I knew it was there. I do the pads with him day in and day out. I should know – it costs me so much every week for the physio!

“Vivan Harris is an ex-world champion and he couldn’t deal with the precision of the shot. Brian is maturing as a man and a fighter.”

The preliminaries to the scheduled 10-round top-of-the bill were spectacular, as Rose came into the ring to the accompaniment of a band from the second battalion, the Duke Of Lancashire regiment based at Weeton Camp.

The adversaries were cagey in the first two rounds, then almost out of the blue came Rose’s two honey-punches that flattened Harris.

Harris won his world title at light-welterweight, so meeting Rose at 11-stone was a considerable step up the weight division, but Rose’s power was as decisive as it was devastating.

Now Rose is setting his sights on a third defence of his light-middleweight title against Sam Webb, and victory would mean the Lonsdale Belt is the Blackpool boxer’s for keeps.

Rose said: “I have a score to settle with Sam Webb. He has been bad-mouthing, saying I have been ducking and diving from him but I haven’t.

“This fight against Harris was to keep me ticking over and hopefully get me talked about in America.

“I had a lot of respect for Webb and he had respect for me, but he texted me when I fought Max Maxwell to say I should be fighting him.

“He apologised and then put out a big piece, saying I am a bottle job. I want to fight Webb straight away.”

Commenting on the night of boxing in which four other local fighters won, Rose said: “It’s amazing for the town. We all had the chance to showcase our talent and we did. Hopefully there will be more in the future.”