INTERVIEW WITH BRITISH LIGHT MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION,
BRIAN ‘THE LION’ ROSE By: UK Boxing Writer Peter Mann
Presently residing in Blackpool,England, Brian Rose is the current British Light Middleweight champion having defeated Prince Arran for the belt in December 2011 after twelve, grueling rounds. It was a fight that the Birmingham-born boxer admits to being ‘the most pleasurable’ of his three title fights to date.
For some period of the year Brian leaves behind his family; his wife and 11 month old son Oscar and lives with his long-time trainer and close friend, Bobby Rimmer. Oscar, according to Brian, is going to be a footballer when he is older; playing for Birmingham City(Brian’s boyhood club) and not their city rivals Aston Villa, as pointed out by myself. Mind, I do have an old Villa shirt somewhere if Oscar wants it?
Here, the Lion gives Real Combat Media and their UK Boxing Writer, Peter Mann, and insight into what makes him tick, including the role that sport psychology has played in his life and career to date.
Peter Mann – Beginning with this past weekend’s James Kirkland – Carlos Molina fight inHouston,Texas. What were your thoughts on how the fight went down?
Brain Rose – To be honest I don’t usually watch other fights.
PM – So what were your thoughts on the outcome then?
BR – I honestly thought that Kirkland would beat Molina due to that he is technically a better fighter and punches harder.Kirkland is more of a southpaw and that, to me, makes it more awkward for an opponent to defend against.
PM – Ok, that’s fair enough. So regarding your own life, and taking things back to the start let’s look at how Brian Rose began. Your father Eddie took you the gym from a young age, nine I believe? So, what made you enter the boxing ring?
BR – To be honest I was quite a mischievous lad and annoyed my mother and father constantly. My father took me to the gym in order for me to channel my aggression. That was when I was nine years old and it went from there. I was on theEnglandteam at 11and appeared for my country the first time againstWalesat 12.
PM – What was the gym called?
BR – They’re called Blackpool & Fylde and have only had a few champion fighters come out of there, including Jack Armfield and Ashley Dean.
PM – Well it was a start and, although you would lose your debut amateur fight you would fight 90 times (78-12). These would also see several fights abroad, includingNew Delhi,India. How were those foreign exchanges and how did they impact on your career?
BR – It was brilliant. Yes I missed home, to be honest anyone would. But they were great experiences not only that trip toIndiabut also France,Germanyand several others. The travelling put me in good stead for if and when I made it as a professional boxer. What I did as an amateur means I can fight against those with different styles and boxers now because of seeing how they are in those other countries.
PM – Is it alright to go onto the subject of James Rushton as the incident is well documented and I’m unsure as to how you’d feel on the matter?
BR – Yes, it’s fine. I’m alright talking about it now. Back then though was different.
PM – So, although you defeated Rushton to win the BBBofC Central Area Light Middleweight title, what happened? And have you got over it? If so how?
BR – At the time it was a brilliant performance by myself and had boxed the full ten rounds. What happened after that is something that nobody in that position will ever forget. It was a horrible feeling.
(http://www.britishboxers.co.uk/2010/05/brian-rose-back-in-ring-after-tragic.html link to British Boxers website piece in the aftermath of Rose-Rushton)
It was also something that I would experience first-hand myself. I wasn’t over it by the time I faced Maxwell the first time. Basically, after what had happened I wasn’t preparer either mentally or physically, and I went into the fight really nervous. I was knocked out in that fight so looking back understood what Rushton went through and felt. I wanted to retire because of what happened. My trainer Bobby though suggested I talk to a sport psychologist.
PM – Yes, I’ve read about and understanding here, I am doing a degree in sport psychology so can relate in some way to the ins and outs. I’ve read that you went to see Emma James. How was that and how much did you accomplish through seeing her?
BR – Well as I said, it was my trainer Bobby that suggested it as I was ready to give it all up. I had a family to consider and didn’t want or like seeing them put through that. However, my wife drove me to see Emma and waited for me in the car outside. And waited. The appointment was supposed to be for an hour and I was in there for nearly six. I had so much going on inside me, mentally, that we had to agree afterwards that appointments should be kept to an hour. I felt really bad after coming out but the following day it was like a weight had been lifted, I felt better. Over the coming weeks we discussed and sorted through the issues that I had and she helped me get back to how I was before the Rushton fight happened. She helped me to mentally get back into the zone and ultimately back into the ring.
PM – Would you recommend other athletes using a sport psychologist because; from experience and research I know and understand that the use of them is still something of a taboo subject which is only becoming more knowledgeable in recent years?
BR – The key is to not be embarrassed by going to see one. I was unsure but not embarrassed but some athletes do and will need help. It helped a lot with my mental state of mind and is something which is paramount in boxing. If the mind of the athlete is clear then you are halfway there. Seeing a sport psychologist is something that should be considered.
PM – That’s good to know Brian. Now, moving on to the three title fights you have had in the past sixteen months – Lee Noble and Martin Welsh (English Light Middleweight) and Prince Arran (British Light Middleweight). Of these three which was the hardest opponent?
BR – That has to be when I fought Martin Welsh. Not only was it on his own stomping ground but it was a sell-out crowd with the main supporting him. He was a different type of opponent for me and the amount of heat that was being generated in the arena really got to me on the night.
PM – And your most satisfying success?
BR – The most pleasurable has to be against Price Arran. I was a heavy underdog going into the fight and due to past experiences it made it even more of a great feeling to win.
PM – You have fought Max Maxwell before, in May 2010 making this, in effect, a revenge fight. Is it that or does that loss pale in comparison to what is at stake now?
BR– To be honest I would have to say it’s both. I can’t really move on until I’ve overcome it because of the events that surrounded the original fight. My management usually chooses my opponents for me but I decided that, for my title defence I would like to fight Maxwell in order to achieve this. I’m not going to be coming out flying and he doesn’t deserve a shot at my title but I need to close a chapter in that book.
PM – Are your preparations and training different or the same going into this fight as they were the first one with Maxwell then?
BR – There’s a lot of differences really. I was travelling a lot then which I’m not doing now as I spend more time living with my trainer. There was also there was a lot wrong with me then as well. I not only didn’t want to train but I didn’t really want to fight either. Now though I am a lot stronger and fitter and more mentally able than I’ve ever been.
PM – It’s also even been documented that you have started you own personal trainer business ready for a career outside of boxing. How is that working out for you?
BR – I’ve realised that, unless you are at the very top of professional boxing there isn’t that much money in boxing I was fighting just to get some money and that wasn’t right, especially with a young family to keep as well, it was also one of the reasons as to why I took the first Maxwell fight.
I’ve made a lot of sacrifices in my life and this is something which I can do and focus on when my fight career winds down. That and I’m a qualified Personal Trainer so I can do that as well as being able to train other boxers as well.
PM – Regarding the Maxwell fight then, how have you been approaching this title defence? What has your training regime been like?
BR – I honestly know and am confident on a lot of things going into this fight, like the fact that I can outbox Maxwell and that, even though Maxwell is strong I will be able to match his strength. I have been doing this by concentrating on my strength and conditioning twice a week on a Tuesday and a Thursday. I’m also up at 6am every morning to go running and do the hills on a Saturday as well.
PM – Finally Brian, looking at your immediate future in the aftermath of Rose-Maxwell II, what’s in the mind of you and your management? Or is it just a case of overcoming Maxwell first?
BR – In all honesty we have talked about what will happen next and I would like to carry on defending the British Light Middleweight title a few times at least. It’s a beautiful belt to hold and I will fight whoever is next in line.
PM – Is there any specific fighter that springs to mind then?
BR – Jamie Cox, who holds the Commonwealth belt. He is definitely someone who I would like to face and think I could add that Commonwealth belt to my British Light Middleweight sometime in the not so distant future.
Brain also would like to add his sincere thanks to the great support which he has received from the his fans and that he is looking forward to fighting in front of a 3,000 strong sell-out crowd. He also hopes that they continue to support him in his endeavours for some time to come.
If you would like to know about Brian ‘The Lion’ Rose his website is www.roseboxing.com as well as being able to follow him on twitter @Brian_Lion_Rose
Brian, we at RCM would like to wish you all the best in your title defence against Max Maxwell this coming Saturday (31st March).
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