ANTHONY FOWLER will be looking to end 2018 on a high on Saturday night and pick up his first title in the pro ranks when he steps between the ropes at the Sheffield Arena on the undercard of Kell Brook and Michael Zerafa’s clash on Sky Sports.
The Liverpool Olympian hasn’t had an opponent announced so far, although there has been no shortage of withdrawals, but he is adamant he will put in a good performance ahead of some big domestic clashes in the super-welterweight division during 2019.
Fowler has been waiting on the sidelines, as he has seen many of his former Team GB compatriots pick up titles since Rio 2016 and he told Boxing News that this will be the first of many titles and he is well prepared for Saturday’s upcoming test.
Fowler said: “I’m excited. This camp I’ve really upped my game. I’ve trained for 12 hard rounds, even though on Saturday it will only be 10, so my stamina will be there in abundance. I’ve sparred with the likes of Liam Williams and Billy Joe Saunders, so I’ve learned a lot which is helping me grow and improve as a fighter all the time.
“I should have actually been fighting for the Commonwealth in this fight but I’m not being big headed, but it was hard to get me an opponent. I’m always asking for the hard fights, not the easy ones but the potential opponents don’t want to know. They all want daft money and price themselves out.
“It definitely should be for a belt, I’ll be fuming if it’s not. I’ve been told it will either be a WBA or a WBC International title. I’ve been patient and seen all my friends from GB pick up belts and I’ve been made up for them all, but I’m on my own journey. Dave has moved me at a good pace, not too fast or too slow and it will be the first of many on Saturday.”
Fowler has been linked to domestic brawls with fellow Commonwealth Games gold medallist Scott Fitzgerald and the incumbent British champion Ted Cheeseman, with whom he has been trading verbal barbs on social media.
The 27-year-old is adamant that his friendship with Fitzgerald will be on the back burner if they do clash and that fight was the original plan for this card, before the Preston man, who is currently 11-0, suffered a hand injury in September.
“I want to push on for British and Commonwealth titles. I’m hoping though that after this it will be Scott Fitzgerald for the Commonwealth and then Ted Cheeseman for the British.
“Me and Scott would have been fighting on this show if he hadn’t have injured his hand in his last fight. Hopefully his hand will heal up and we’ll fight each other in February or March. We sparred for years in the GB setup. We’re friends and got on very well in Team GB, but at the end of the day it’s business. I’ve got plenty of respect for him, but we’re two top prospects at similar stages in our careers. We should fight and the winner will move on, so it’s the next logical step for both of us.
“Cheeseman is a good, strong fighter who comes forward. He did well in his last fight, so after I win the Commonwealth then it would make sense for us to fight for both belts. It’s been brewing nicely and there’s public interest in the fight. I get asked a lot about when I’m going to smash Cheeseman, which I am going to do, so I’m hoping that I’ll get the chance come May or June, somewhere along those lines.”
Despite the ongoing speculation into his future fights, Fowler has his mind set on a good showing on Saturday night. He is refusing to make the same mistake that many have made during their careers of looking past an opponent and insists he will be at his best in Sheffield.
“I’m going to do to the business on Saturday and then regroup before next year. If you look too far ahead it’s dangerous. I mean you only have to look at Scott, who nearly got beat, as he may have already turned his focus towards fighting me, so I won’t be making that mistake. I’ve trained so hard for this fight on Saturday and no matter who it is, I prepare for everyone the same, so I’m looking forward to putting on a show.”
Fowler is guided by highly respected trainer Dave Coldwell, who is also managing “The Machine”, out of his Rotherham base and Saturday will give Coldwell the chance to see how his young charge is progressing since his switch to the pro ranks 18 months ago.
Coldwell adds that the sparring that Fowler has had in preparation, in particular with a former British champion in Williams has been a big boost for the Liverpool star, who he admits isn’t the finished article yet.
“I’m excited to see how Anthony is progressing on Saturday. He’s extremely driven, which everyone who follows him on social media will know. He works hard and gives it his best in every single session, which is all you can ask of your fighters,” Coldwell said.
“His sparring with Liam Williams has been great as he’s an excellent fighter. It’s been great to watch, as anyone who has seen it will tell you, so it has been good work for the pair of them. It’s priceless for Anthony at this stage of his career.
“I’ve always said that he is a work in progress. He’s not a slickster, fluid fighter that is a defensive master, but he is getting better with that side of things. It’s much more subtle than obvious what he does but he’s getting there.
“It’s no secret that we were meant to be fighting Zerafa on this card and the route we had originally planned was Fitzgerald, then Zerafa and finally Cheeseman. But, Scott did his hand in and Zerafa signed to fight Kell, so we’ve been a bit stuck. We’ll get Saturday out of the way and then next year he can be in a really meaningful fight.”