Rose earns career best win / Selby rampant again

Brian Rose stopped former world champion Joachim Alcine in the 12th round to seal a career best win in front of his home fans at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool last night. Rose, who had been pegged back after building an early lead, rocked Alcine with a huge right hand towards the end of the eleventh and a sustained barrage a minute into the final session prompted referee Richie Davies to intervene. The (ever) vacant WBO Intercontinental light-middleweight title was on the line.

Rose (10st 13 12oz), who won the Lonsdale belt outright after successfully defending his British light-middleweight title against Sam Webb in December, made a confident start and buckled Alcine’s legs with a lead left hook inside the opening 30 seconds. Alcine had been blasted out in the opening round by Matthew Macklin in his last outing and the 37-year-old Canadian’s legs gave a reaction whenever Rose was able to land cleanly on his chin.

Rather than put the heat on the visitor Rose boxed in his trademark manner, typically behind his impressive jab and maintaining a tightly held guard. It was effective, if unspectacular, from the Blackpool man, who was bidding to demonstrate that he can make the transition to world level. Rose enjoyed success to the body against the shorter Alcine (10st 12 8oz) in the third who momentarily dropped his gloves after he absorbed a left hook to the mid-section. The Canadian seemed there for the taking and this was evidenced when he complained to referee Davies after being caught with a perfectly legitimate right hand to the head.

After dominating early on the fizz started to go out of Rose’s work. While a solid technician, Brian can be frustratingly methodical and at times predictable as he overly relied on his jab, right hand combination to keep Alcine under control. It worked in the main but promoter Eddie Hearn was probably looking for some more fireworks from his new signing. The contest had become scrappy as the fighters tangled inside which prompted referee Davies to instruct both men to tidy things up in round six. It was Rose who responded first, clubbing Alcine with a right hand and a borderline left hook to the body which went unnoticed on Davies’ blind side.

It wasn’t until round eight when Alcine finally started to show some ambition. The veteran displayed some nimble skills when he let his hands go and attacked Rose consistently for the first time in the contest. Rose attempted to reassert his stranglehold and pinned Alcine against the ropes and got through with three successive rights in round nine placing the former WBA light-middleweight champion under sustained fire. The Canadian was able to escape however and turned the tables when uncorking a classy right uppercut which hurt Rose midway through the ninth. This was definitely a mini-crisis for the Blackpool man who was nailed again when retreating by a right hand as the fight entered a pivotal phase.

Rose was paying the price for not pressing home his advantage earlier and had encouraged Alcine to chance his arm. It’s not in Brian’s nature to meet fire with fire but he needed to up the ante because he was now conceding rounds to Alcine on workrate alone as precious few blows were connecting cleanly. The Canadian’s revival continued into the tenth as Rose again seemed stuck in second gear. Alcine was also getting the best of round eleven as he caught Rose backing up with a sneak right uppercut. Rose was still ahead but was being gradually clawed back and the stage was seemingly set for a grandstand finish from Alcine. The British champion had other ideas though and turned his man and drilled Alcine with a peach of a right hand against the ropes with seconds remaining in the eleventh. Not for the first time, Alcine looked ready to go but the bell came to his aid.

Alcine still appeared woozy at the start of the twelfth and final round and Rose read the signals perfectly and boxed with greater urgency. Rose got the better of an exchange in the centre of ring and jarred Alcine with a right through the middle. As Joachim lurched backwards Rose jumped in and unleashed a succession of rights and left hooks, the majority of which missed, however referee Davies waded in and stopped the fight with two minutes and fifteen seconds remaining. The stoppage seemed harsh on Alcine however Rose had clearly proved his dominance and might have enjoyed an earlier tight had he boxed more aggressively from the outset.

Nevertheless, this was a career best win for Rose (now 23-1-1) who is an effective all-rounder who has arguably over achieved after suffering a shock loss to Max Maxwell three years ago. The 28-year-old is expected to be back out in June in another fight which will inch him closer towards an unlikely world title shot. On a week in which the unheralded Lee Purdy has earned a surprise world title crack against Devon Alexander following Kell Brook’s latest injury setback, who is say that Rose’s dream can’t come true?

In the chief support Barry’s Lee Selby dished out another impressive pasting, this time to outgunned Australian Corey McConnell, to retain his Commonwealth featherweight crown with a fifth round stoppage. Selby (8st 12 12oz) has really blossomed since announcing his arrival on the scene with a shock KO over Stephen Smith, and having now secured the promotional backing of Eddie Hearn the Welshman can really start to kick-on now. In truth, this fight was little more than a routine exercise for Selby who was far too strong and heavy-handed for McConnell (8st 13 8oz) who while unbeaten in 12 fights (11 wins, 1 draw) had mixed in C-class opposition.

Selby boxed with a swagger from the opening bell and unleashed a big right hand which cannoned off McConnell’s temple in the first round which was a sign of things to come. The Aussie showed decent footwork and handspeed but was tactically naïve as he foolishly attempted to mix it which played right into Selby’s fists. McConnell, without a stoppage victory to his name, was unable to keep Selby at bay and there was an inevitability when he was finally despatched to the canvas with a short body shot midway through round three. The Australian gallantly hauled himself up at the count of eight but there seemed little point in the contest being allowed to continue.

Referee Terry O’Connor continued to give McConnell every chance and it needed the intervention of the Australian’s corner to holt proceedings after they threw in the towel just over a minute into the fifth. McConnell had been felled for a second time by a right hook seconds earlier, and although he beat the count the challenger was totally spent.

Somewhat surprisingly, this was just Selby’s 16th fight (now 15-1) which is why experienced manager Chris Sanigar was keen to reiterate that Lee remains a work in progress afterwards. But what progress this exciting 26-year-old is making – impressive wins over Stephen Smith, John Simpson and Martin Lindsay have resulted in six stoppages in his last eight fights. Selby looks to have the skills to make the transition to European level with ease, and possibly beyond that if he can continue to improve at the rate he is doing.


Crolla V Murray

A lot of people consider the lightweight bout taking place in Manchester this weekend between Anthony Crolla (27-4-1) and John Murray (32-2) to be a very close call indeed. The contest, in UK's second biggest city on Easter Weekend, is for the WBO lightweight Inter-continental title, but the significance of the result means more than the marginal title as it will put them a step closer to a world title fight. Even if this isn't immediately forthcoming, the division is stacked in Britain, and can throw up some massive domestic scraps.

Fight Reports

Crag Whyatt v Ben Moorish, Camden Centre, 11th April

Last Friday at the Camden Centre, Morden super featherweight Craig Whyatt (7-1) liquidated Plymouth’s Ben Morrish (3-8-2) in the first round to bag the Masters Bronze super featherweight belt. This was scheduled for eight, but when Morrish tried to turn it into a brawl he quickly came off second best after Jeff Hinds halted proceedings following his third knockdown.