BLACKPOOL boxer Brian Rose made a successful first defence of his English light-middleweight title with a highly impressive, eighth-round stoppage of the previously unbeaten Martin Welsh.
Rose was a comfortable winner at the Medway Leisure Centre in Gillingham, where Prince Arron ripped the British belt from the possession of Sam Webb in a pulsating encounter.
Now the scene is set for a North-West showdown for the Lonsdale belt – Rose has designs on a clash with Arron, who hails from Droylsden.
The only disappointment for Rose on one of the best nights of his career was that the fight was not shown on TV.
Sky Sports did film the action and may screen it on this week’s Ringside programme.
If Rose meets Arron, as looks likely, it could well a cracker, but would have to go some to better Arron’s win over Webb, who needed oxygen and was taken to hospital as a precaution after the 12th-round stoppage.
Rose and Arron have sparred but this would be for real.
Webb was making the second defence of his Lonsdale belt but was comprehensively beaten.
The rangy 23-year-old challenger, who made his name with victory in the Prizefighter tournament, was on top almost from the opening bell.
Isle of Dogs fighter Webb, 30, struggled to cope with Arron’s reach and accuracy and expended far too much energy in the early rounds in the baking hot arena. The fight could have been stopped in the fifth, when the champion was knocked down by a right hook, but Webb showed tremendous courage to keep going.
He was again on the canvas in the ninth and the end arrived just over a minute from the final bell as a left upper-cut knocked Webb down again. With Arron landing punches at will, the referee waved him away.