CHALLENGER Sam Webb stoked up the ill-feeling between himself and title holder Brian Rose as the pair prepared to do battle to become king of the British 11-stone division at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool tonight.
Londoner Webb claimed Rose had not been man enough to square up to him before when the Blackpool boxer had the chance.
The pair traded written blows on Twitter in the run-up to tonight’s 12-rounder, and at the weigh-in Webb repeated his claim that champion Rose had gone back on his word and fought other opponents instead of him.
Webb declared: “There never used to be bad feeling between us, but I am a man of my word and I would have fought Brian if I had still been British champion and hadn’t lost (to Prince Arron in May last year).
“He’s obviously not a man because he told me one thing and did another.
“He may tell you a different story but, believe me, that is not the case.
“Tonight I have the chance to prove myself. It’s a big fight for both of us but I am 110 per cent confident I am going to do a job.
“I have been training for this for the last 15 weeks. I am in brilliant shape – the best I have been in.
“I am not going to shout my mouth off about game plans because they can go out of the window.”
Rose said the definite answer to all arguments would come in the ring.
“There has been a lot said and now it’s about letting our fists do the talking. He has disrespected me and the opponents I have been in with, but I have just got to get in there and prove him wrong.
“He’s said I wouldn’t fight him, but I am going to do a proper job and stop him.”
“I don’t have respect for him for the way he has spoken about me, but I have respect for him as a fighter.”
A third successful defence tonight would mean the 27-year-old keeps the Lonsdale Belt and Rose added: “Winning the Lonsdale Belt means so much to any boxer, but to win it outright is a different story.
“To have it for keeps for me and my son Oscar would just be amazing. That’s why I have trained so hard and sacrificed so much, and that’s why I am going to win.
“Things have gone great, perfect as always. I have had the best sparring and I am under the weight, which proves how good the camp has gone. “This is the fight that can move me on to a European or world title, so this is my most important fight, not just for m but for my trainer, my family and my management as well.
“Steve Wood (promoter) has put a lot of work in and I am doing it for him as well.
“Sam Webb has been at the top and was close to owning the belt outright himself. He will want to snatch that belt away from me and he will be hungry, but he’s got no chance.”
A late deal means the fight will be televised on the Loaded TV channel, a development welcomed by Rose.
He said: “It’s great that people who can’t make the fight can actually see potentially one of the fights of the year. On paper, it is a 50-50 fight and people will look at this as being a real barnstormer.
“I know that I am punching much harder. I am hurting my sparring partners and that’s not really happened before. I am maturing as a fighter and I am a seasoned pro.”
Jack Arnfield, of Preesall, who boxes Isle of Wight’s Jay Morris on the undercard, is backing his stablemate Rose to do a number on Webb. Arnfield said; “When we get to the late rounds, I think we might see a knockout. Brian is on fire in the gym. He’s starting to peak, so anyone who gets into the ring with him now will really struggle.”
Unbeaten Arnfield, whose own contest is a six-rounder against a boxer who has had 49 fights (15 wins, 31 losses, three draws), added: “I have not fought for four months because of injuries. It’s annoying, but I am ready to rock and roll now.”
>> Rose scaled 10st 113lb at the weigh-in, while Webb was three-quarters of a pound lighter. Both boxers looked in superb shape.
>> Arnfield’s fight is the second on at the Winter Gardens tonight at 7.20pm, with Rose due to enter the ring at 9.30.