Boxing’s Battle of Blackpool boiled over into a pre-fight war of words as Jack Arnfield was accused of being jealous of his rival Brian Rose.
The duo meet at Manchester Arena tomorrow night and Rose’s trainer Bobby Rimmer, who also trained Arnfield before the two split, made the stinging rebuke at a compelling press conference.
Arnfield laughed off the jibe, his camp claiming the Stalmine fighter was a better, fitter boxer since leaving Rimmer to join trainers Michael and Dave Jennings.
Speaking of their parting of the ways, which was clearly anything but cordial, Rimmer said: “You look after kids and you give them the best and sometimes they leave you.
“It’s happened to most trainers. It does smart in the beginning but Jack is just an opponent to me. He means nothing to me. I couldn’t care less about him.
“People go on about the money for this fight but it is not about the money.
“Jack lived among my family for five years, so I do know a lot about him. He will tell you that he’s changed and this, that and the other, but we will see on the night, won’t we?
“Jack Arnfield took this fight because he is jealous of Brian Rose – always has been, always will be.
“But he will never be able to get what Brian Rose has done.
“Jack Arnfield’s fight with Brian Rose is fuelled not by money but jealousy – nothing else, plain and simple.”
Arnfield and his trainer were swift on the counter-attack after Rimmer’s extraordinary, unprompted outburst.
Arnfield, who will defend his World Boxing Association international middleweight title against Rose, said: “I am ready for this fight. Jealousy has nothing to do with it. I want to improve my career.
“The fight was offered, Brian fought at the top level and it is a progressive step for me.”
Jennings said that Arnfield had been injury-free since teaming up with him – claiming that was not the case under Rimmer – and that he would not have made the progress he has without the switch.
Jennings said: “Jack is a credit both to himself and to boxing. He wouldn’t be sitting on this stage if he had kept on the way he had been going in the same gym he was in before. There is no chance on this planet he would have been up here. Everything in this camp has been good.
“He has improved with every fight with us. We have left no stone unturned.
“He has had no injuries.He was getting injuries every other week before but now he is 100 per cent.
“Brian is either coming to fight or to be on the back foot but we have prepared for any way. We have studied the best of Brian and the bad fights.
“Neither of them are known as big punchers but we know Brian does cut.
“Jack is hungry and I think he will beat Brian on points.”
Brian Rose says the dread of being labelled only the number two boxer in Blackpool is spurring him on for tomorrow’s clash with Jack Arnfield at the Manchester Arena.
It was a contention that Arnfield was quick to try to quash, saying that he was the number one middleweight already.
Meantime, Rose is promising “fireworks” in tomorrow’s fight.
He said: “I believe I can do the 12 rounds better and I can do them standing on my head.
“But I am going to bring much more to the fight. People will be surprised.
“It’s not just going to be about people telling me I have a good jab – there will be fireworks on Saturday, I can promise you that.”
And Rose said the stakes could hardly be higher in his challenge for Arnfield’s WBA international middleweight belt.
“There is no doubt my career is on the line,” he said. “It is over if I get beaten by Jack Arnfield
“I know I said the same before I lost to Matthew Macklin but there were circumstances behind that. Now there is pride at stake
“I don’t want to be walking round Blackpool having gone from number one down to number two.
“A year or two years ago, Jack would not have looked to fight me.
“He knew I was levels above him, so how can he be above me aftr a year? A lot has changed but not that much. I have boxed at the top against much better operators.”
Arnfield responded: “I am higher than Brian in the world ratings, so that makes me number one.
“I think I have improved massively over the last year and 18 months. You can see that in my last few performances
“I am not completely different but I am more of a finished article.
“Yes, 18 months ago Brian was a step ahead of me but not now. I have the momentum going forward and everything is in my favour in this fight.”
Asked how the bout would go, Arnfield predicted: “Parts of it will be a bit like a chess match and other in parts we will get right involved and have a good tear-up.”
Arnfield said the action in the ring would be completely different to their sparring sessions of years gone by.
“It won’t by 16oz gloves – it is 10oz gloves in there. It could go either way – a stoppage for me or a points win for me!