'Now is the right time': Blackpool boxing favourite Brian Rose calls time on decorated career

One of Blackpool’s most decorated boxers, Brian Rose, has called time on his sparkling career.
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The 38-year-old hasn’t fought since December 2021 but had intended to have one last final night in Blackpool, either at the Winter Gardens or Bloomfield Road.

But having begun training for the farewell bout, Rose accepted there was nothing left to give - prompting him to formally announce his retirement 18 years on from his debut.

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“I did a couple of weeks in the gym but it just wasn’t there anymore,” the ‘Lion’ exclusively told The Gazette.

“I was hitting the bag and I wasn’t enjoying it. They always say that’s when it goes. I hadn’t even started sparring or dieting.

“The feeling of it was making me ill. It was that horrible feeling of knowing I’d have to diet for 12 weeks because anyone that knows me knows that I do everything properly. Even the last fight I had in Germany, I got myself into a great physical condition.

“I turned 38 last month. I’m just too old. I’ve got three children, I’ve still got my wits about me and I’ve got two businesses. I’ve done really well, so I’ve decided now is the right time.

Eighteen years on from his debut, Brian 'the Lion' Rose has called time on his boxing careerEighteen years on from his debut, Brian 'the Lion' Rose has called time on his boxing career
Eighteen years on from his debut, Brian 'the Lion' Rose has called time on his boxing career
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“A lot of boxers retire and they’re a bit punch drunk and some people can’t even put a sentence together. I’d like to think I’ve still got my wits about me.

“Making those sacrifices for another 12-15 weeks, I just couldn’t do it. Even if it was going out on an easy win…it’s professional boxing, anything can happen. If I had fought someone not as good as me, a journeyman, and got beat then it would have been a disaster going out on that note because I hadn’t trained properly.

“This is one of the biggest decisions of my life, if not the biggest decision. Boxing has been my life since I was nine years old. I’ve never had a job.

“Thinking about life without boxing is hard but I know now is the right time.”

Among Rose's biggest achievements was winning the British title outrightAmong Rose's biggest achievements was winning the British title outright
Among Rose's biggest achievements was winning the British title outright
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Rose, who fought in the middleweight division, has no regrets when he looks back at his stellar career.

Having fought 90 times as an amateur, Rose turned professional in 2005 with a points victory over Geraint Harvey at the old Hilton Hotel on the North Promenade.

He would go on to fight a further 40 times, winning 32 and capturing the Central Area, English and British titles along the way.

Rose also challenged for the world title in 2014 when he was stopped by the unbeaten American Demetrius Andrade.

Rose fought Demetrius Andrade for the world title in New York in 2014Rose fought Demetrius Andrade for the world title in New York in 2014
Rose fought Demetrius Andrade for the world title in New York in 2014
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“Since winning the British title, I always boxed at the top level. I never once dropped down,” he said.

“Even up until 37 years of age, I challenged for the IBF European title, so I fought at the top level for so long.

“The fights were really hard on my body, so injuries have certainly played a part in my retirement. My age has helped me make the decision as well.”

Rose added: “I probably should have retired a few years ago, but that fighting spirit in me…I could just never let it go. I just love fighting. I believe I was put on this earth to fight and to box, it’s just what I’m good at.

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“There’s something inside me that still wants me to do it, but it’s just not there anymore. It’s gone.

“I just feel content, I’m at peace now. I’ve got a family, financially I’m okay, I’ve got two businesses, so I’ve got everything I need.

Rose admits he owes so much of his career to his trusted trainer Bobby RimmerRose admits he owes so much of his career to his trusted trainer Bobby Rimmer
Rose admits he owes so much of his career to his trusted trainer Bobby Rimmer

“I’m at ease now. There was a point in my life where I felt I needed to retire but I just couldn’t, but now feels like the right time.

“I lost my Nan a few weeks ago which hasn’t helped matters. But at the same time, all she ever wanted for the last five or six years was for me to retire. After every fight, win or lose, she’d ask me if I was going to quit.

“At least she can rest easy now knowing I’ve retired.”

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Rose was born in Birmingham but moved to Blackpool at the age of eight, taking up boxing a year later.

After an impressive amateur career, the boxer would end up turning professional at the tender age of 20.

“I had a job with my Dad for about two weeks painting a wall and I literally said: “what am I doing here?,” he explained.

“My Dad told me if I didn’t like it I should turn pro and that’s what I did. I dropped the brush straight away, which was the start of a great career.

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“I boxed for England all over the world, I was a national champion, I had a good pedigree before turning pro.

“I had my ups and downs. I had the Jason Rushton fight where I seriously hurt him.

“Nobody thought I was going to become a British champion at that stage. I won the Central Area title, I won the English title and then I got the shot at Prince Arron. I was at 8/1, nobody - apart from my family, friends and my team - felt I was going to win that fight. But against all odds I won it.

“I was always a confidence fighter so from that point onwards I went from strength to strength. Until I fought Demetrius Andrade I honestly felt I wouldn’t get beat by anyone.”

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Rose feels nothing but pride reflecting on his career, with those “amazing” nights at the Winter Gardens among the most cherished of memories.

“I do feel as though I’m the most accomplished pro to come out of Blackpool. I’m proud to say that,” he said.

“There’s no-one from Blackpool that has won the British title outright and fought for a world title, so I’m proud to say I put Blackpool on the map. The British champions came after me.

“Brian London put Blackpool on the map and 50 years later another Brian put Blackpool on the map.

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“I had some amazing nights in Blackpool. The Winter Gardens was even called the ‘Lion’s Den’ at one point.

“I can’t thank the fans enough. They really got behind me. Blackpool FC helped me as well. I was British Champion the time they were in the Premier League so it was perfect timing.

“I helped them strive and they helped me strive. Together the whole town was absolutely bouncing at the time.

“Ian Holloway would jump in the ring after my fights, they were just amazing nights. I will never forget them, they’re the best memories of my life.”

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Many sportsmen and women, not just boxers, often struggle to come to terms with life after their retirement.

But Rose, a husband to Danielle and a father to three children, believes he’s as prepared as he can be.

“I’ve definitely got things to keep me occupied. That’s what I’ve needed,” he said.

“I like to help people and that can replace that exciting feeling you get when you fight. The buzz you get.

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“Helping kids in the community is replacing that, so I really do think I’ll be okay.

“I put a lot more time into my family as well. I made all the sacrifices to become a champion. I did that and more.

“There were times when I missed my kids’ birthdays, I missed weddings, I missed everything just to be a champion. That’s the only way.”

Rose’s career wouldn’t have been possible without so many people, but a lot of it came alongside his trusted trainer Bobby Rimmer.

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Rimmer, as well as the late Andy Sumner, who trained Rose during the amateurs, were both pivotal in Rose’s career.

“I moved to Manchester and had a look around some gyms and that’s where I bumped into Bobby. We just clicked straight away. He gave me a flat to live in,” Rose said.

“I can’t thank him enough for the sacrifices he made for me.

“I do owe thanks to so many people. My friends and my family for believing in me and advising me.

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“The support I got from Blackpool…I was definitely the best supported boxer from Blackpool. I’d love to see Blackpool jump on another boxer the way they did with me.

“Boxers in Blackpool often struggle selling tickets but I never had that problem back in the day because of Blackpool FC and what I was achieving. I’d love to see it again.

“I owe it to my friends, my family, my sponsors, my whole team. Just for helping me to where I got, because it wasn’t an individual journey. I could never have achieved this without them.

“I could never have achieved this without certain people, without naming names. I will thank them personally. There are two or three people in particular who I will thank personally.

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“Andy Sumner as well, I’ve got to give a lot of thanks to him. He was my amateur coach but he sadly passed away recently. Without him I wouldn’t have achieved what I did.

“It all wouldn’t have happened without so many people but he was the one that put the work in from the start and it was all for free.”

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