While watching an excellent fight between two unbeaten prospects in Scott Fitzgerald and Anthony Fowler at the M&S Echo Arena in Liverpool, England on Saturday night, I couldn’t help but be reminded of when George Groves met James DeGale in 2011.
Going into the fight Fowler was (9-0, 8KOs) with the highly decorated amateur career and the favorite to prevail, just like Olympic gold medalist DeGale who was (10-0, 8KOs). Groves had a record of (12-0, 10KOs) and was the slight underdog, a lot like Fitzgerald (12-0, 9KOs).
Groves and DeGale had a rivalry that stretched back to the amateurs with a clear disliking for one other, exactly like Fitzgerald and Fowler. While one was fought at Super-Middleweight and the other at Light-Middleweight, both were close technical affairs that were eagerly anticipated on the domestic scene. The difference was the Groves points victory over DeGale was over shadowed with controversy while Fitzgerald’s tenth-round knockdown of Fowler cemented his win.
Like 8-years ago many fans and pundits have expressed their desire to see a rematch especially considering how close the fight was leading up to the knock down in the last round. If Fowler had managed to stay on his feet than it would have been the Liverpudlian who would have had his hand risen by referee Steve Gray if you take the judges’ scorecards into consideration of 94-95 twice in Fitzgerald’s favor and 96-94 in Fowler’s.
One thing missing from this integrin match-up was the British title which is currently held by the third man in the domestic 154lb triangle Ted Cheeseman. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) did originally sanction Cheesman vs Fowler but following his defeat the stewards have withdrawn ‘The Machine’ and installed Fitzgerald. Both camps have until April 10 to agree terms.
If the Preston fighter decides not to challenge for the beautiful Londsdale belt than a rematch with Fowler would create even more excitement. Considering the quality of the fight between two guys that are only at the early stages of their pro careers a second bout could easily be a headliner of an event in the summer.
Speaking of headliners, Liam Smith’s comprehensive victory over Sam Eggington was no surprise. ‘Beefy’ demonstrated once again why he is currently the only fighter in the 11st division that could potentially dethrone Kell Brook for the No.1 slot in Britain. Trainer Joe Gallagher signalled his desire to target unbeaten EBU European champion Sergio Garcia before attempting to mix it with the worlds elite once again.
While Eggington should probably consider stepping back down to the Welterweight division were his power is clearly more effective. ‘The Savage’ is still only 25-years-old and has plenty of time on his side to reserect himself on the domestic and possibly European scene at 147lbs.
Also on the Liverpool bill there was a fight to sink your teeth into, quite literally between Kash Ali and David Price. Ali was disqualified for persistent biting after Big Pricey landed a big shot in the fifth-round that clearly hurt his Birmingham opponent.
After the Liverpool giant’s 24th victory he called for a showdown against the winner of Dave Allen and Lucas Brown who face-off on April 20 at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London. There is of course the option of taking on the winner of Dereck Chisora or Senad Gashi who also feature on the same bill.
To conclude, the next question would be will Fitzgerald and Fowler be able to fulfill their potential and follow in the footsteps of Groves and DeGale? Let’s hope that a rematch will follow or at least happen sometime down the line, unlike their predecessors. Of course, only time will tell but I’m sure a certain Mr Cheeseman will have something to say about where they’re futures will end up. One thing is for sure, the British Light-Middleweight division has become a whole lot more exciting and it will be fun watching how each fighter develops.