Blackpool’s Brian Rose has questioned whether his foe Anthony Fowler has what it takes to make the necessary improvements to beat him.
The two meet on Friday’s Sky Sports bill at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool, with the WBO Inter-Continental middleweight title on the line.
Fowler heads into the fight on the back of suffering the first defeat of his career, losing to Preston’s Scott Fitzgerald in March.
That took his record to nine wins and one defeat, eight of those victories coming by way of knockout.
But Rose, the far more experienced campaigner with 37 fights under his belt, doesn’t believe Fowler will be able to up his game to the required standard to take the win on Friday night.
The 34-year-old said: “Anthony Fowler lost to Scott Fitzgerald in his last fight and I’ve watched that a few times, but I think that’s the best they’re both ever going to be.
“Each of them rose to the occasion, but Fitzgerald came off best, so I think going off that fight is best as that’s what I’m going to expect again.
“I’m really excited. I’ve been working hard since Christmas and I can’t wait for it. The fight got pushed back a few weeks but I think that extra bit of training has been really good.
“The extra few weeks has allowed me to get some more sparring in and a bit more weight off, so even though it’s a cliche, my camp has gone perfect.
“I’m injury free for the first time in years and I’m pushing my body to places I didn’t know it could go.
“I’ve realised that I’ve got so much left to give to the sport and I could have fought a couple of months ago because I’m really fit and I’m more than ready for this fight.”
Rose’s hopes of a big fight this summer appeared jinxed as his original opponent, Fowler’s conqueror Fitzgerald, pulled out injured.
That dashed hopes of seeing a hotly-anticipated Blackpool v Preston West Lancashire clash.
However, Fowler stepped in as his replacement on a Manchester Arena bill - only for the whole event to be scrapped.
Now former British champion and world challenger Rose (31-5-1) is back as a bill-topper.
The headline fight at the Exhibition Centre will take place in Fowler’s hometown and forms part of the #JDNXTGEN series to be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the US.
The packed undercard will include Lewis Ritson taking on former European champion Joe Hughes for the WBA Continental title and Bolton’s English middleweight champion Jack Cullen making his first defence against Dillian Whyte.