Blackpool's Brian Rose (25-1-1) came through a tough and exciting twelve rounds with Argentinian Javier Maciel (27-3) to earn a split decision win (117-111, 113-115, 116-113) and the opportunity to fight for the vacant WBO world light middleweight title.
Coming into it, Maciel (10st 12lbs 2oz) was the favourite. Throughout the fight, Rose (10st 12lbs 10oz) managed to stave off his aggression with accurate counter punching, but the former British light middleweight champion spent the majority on the back foot and was troubled by the Argentinian's constant pressure.
Maciel (10st 12lbs 2oz) started each round as the aggressor and peppered Rose with a variety of shots early in the third. The Blackpool fighter was cut badly across the bridge of his nose. Maciel launched another fierce attack at the start of the fourth, and landed a solid uppercut which Rose soaked up, causing further damage to his nose.
Roses's returns were not powerful enough to stop the Brazilian coming forward. The counter punches coming in were mostly accurate, well-timed, scoring shots, but too infrequent to give Rose many clear rounds on my card. After Maciel landed a clean right at the end of the sixth, Rose had a good spell as the Argentinian appeared to gas a little, but again started the seventh in control and landed hurtful shots to Roses's body.
It was Roses's accuracy versus aggression and work rate from Maciel, and a gutsy performance from the Blackpool fighter kept him in it. Maciel connected with a right hand at the start of the eighth and followed in with wild, inaccurate flurries which Rose ducked and dived away from on the ropes. Maciel had gassed, and Rose finished the round strongly in control for the first time.
Maciel's work rate dipped considerably in the ninth, and Rose able to pick off the Argentinian before going onto the front foot briefly. Maciel's efforts increased towards the end of the round, but Rose kept his concentration and boxed it out.
The break appeared to be enough to recharge Maciel's batteries and he launched attacks in the tenth and eleventh rounds which took a lot out of Rose, who was warned for holding down by the referee and couldn't quite Match Maciel's workrate.
Both fighters put equal effort into the closing round, which was fought gamely at close range. The judges scored a split decision win in favour of Rose - 117-111 (Fernando Laguna), 115-113 Maciel (Robin Taylor) and 116-113 (Dave Parris). It was a close fight, with some rounds difficult to score, but the work rate and aggression of the Argentinian made him a clear winner on BoxRec News's card (117-112 Maciel).
The close win puts Lonsdale belt owner Rose in line for a shot at the vacant WBO light middleweight title. A delighted Rose said after the fight: "I found it really hard at times, There were times I had to dig deep, and I've never had to do that before. I always said, when I had to, I would."
"You've still not seen the best of me, I say it every time. As I got up in levels, the better I'll get. I'm more than happy with that performance. I'm boxing for a world title next if Eddie (Hearn) is anything to do with it. I'm over the moon."