BLACKPOOL’S Brian Rose is one fight away from winning the Lonsdale Belt outright – and he will bid to achieve that feat in his home town.
After retaining his British light-middleweight title at the Bowlers Arena in Manchester, on a unanimous points decision against Scottish switch-hitter Kris Carslaw, Rose will next meet the number one contender for his title, former champion Sam Webb, with promoters Frank Maloney and Steve Woods pushing to win the purse bids and put the promotion on in Blackpool.
Rose said his first priority was to beat Webb, so that he holds the belt for keeps after making three defences.
“I want to own that belt outright and I want it on my mantelpiece – Sam Webb is the next in line and there is no avoiding him.
“I will never avoid any opponent, so Webb is mandatory and that is who I will fight next in Blackpool.
“I am looking towards the end of the year for that, but it has to fall on one of the Sky dates.
“It will mean the world to keep the belt – I want to do it in front of my home crowd.”
Rose, domestic king of the 11-stone division, has had three British title fights – all 12 rounders – and he is looking towards a break from the game by going on a well-earned holiday.
He said: “I won’t be out of the ring too long because I don’t want to be ring rusty as I have been in the past, but I do need a break.
“I have had 10 week camps and I have had two weeks off since August, and I need a rest.
“It has been really hard.
“I am going on holiday with Danielle (partner) and Oscar (son) tomorrow to Majorca for a nice break, and I am looking forward to it.”
Reflecting on being tested to the full by Carslaw, he said: “I definitely earned my money.
“The last two title contests I was boxing orthodox fighters, but Kris didn’t even know what style he was going to box, so how am I supposed to know how he is going to stand? He was really tough, durable – he kept switching and he was messing me about.
“It was the most awkward fight I have ever had.
“For a British title defence it was a really tough fight.”
For a time it looked as though the contest could be stopped in the closing seconds of the third round after Carslaw sustained a nasty cut to the forehead, which kept being re-opened and weeping blood, despite the best efforts of his cuts man Benny King.
Rose said: “It was a clash of heads – because he was in a southpaw position we both clashed.
“It was accidental, but it kind of knocked him out of his stride a bit.
“He was getting into the fight at the time, but I think it helped me.
“I could see it going in his eyes – he was so tough and he was trying to get the blood out of his eyes.
“For him to get through nine rounds with blood pouring down just shows how tough he is.
“I think we were both a credit to the sport because it showed we are in it for the right reasons, to earn money for our family.
“I love the sport and I love the fact I can earn money from the sport and feed my family.
“Kris is in the same position. We are not in it to hurt each other – we are in there to earn money and put in a good performance.
Reflecting further on the points win, Rose added: “I thought I won by three or four rounds.”
Carslaw had no qualms with the verdict.
“ I gave it my all.
“I thought I started well, maybe I slackened off in the middle of it, then I picked it back up at the end.
“But Brian has got a really good jab, an awesome jab and it was hard to get by it. He’s a great fighter, all credit to him. He’s still the champ.”