Craig Salmon’s Soapbox: A Scott Fitzgerald v Brian Rose boxing clash will create a real buzz in the region, but Deepdale as a venue looks unlikely
Of all the tweets emanating from Scott Fitzgerald’s Twitter account over the past few weeks, one in particular made me chuckle.
he 27-year-old Preston boxer has not been shy on the social media platform, especially in the build up to his blockbuster domestic clash against Anthony Fowler at the Liverpool Arena last Saturday week.
Engaging in some brutal and, at times, crude banter with his former GB team-mate, the pair certainly drummed up plenty of interest in their subsequent dust-up. And keen to engage with fans on Twitter, Fitzgerald was asked what he would do if he did not live up to his pre-fight talk and beat Fowler.
I imagine his tongue was firmly in his cheek when his typed response contained something along the lines of, he would go on holiday with the realisation that he was not as good as he thought he was and then look to embark on another career, such as joining the Royal Mail.
Fortunately for the self-styled Mad Man, he will not be pounding the streets of the Larches and Savick housing estates in Preston with a postie bag over his shoulder any time soon, after his brilliant performance against Fowler. Having kept an eye on Fitzgerald’s career from before he won the National ABA title at the age of 21, I wrote in this column previously that he was entering a make-or-break period.
A top amateur who won Commonwealth Games gold, the former Our Lady’s High School pupil appeared to be in danger of wasting his career after turning pro.
In a candid interview with this newspaper in the build-up to the Fowler fight, Fitzgerald spoke of his difficulty in staying motivated as a professional, which had led him to seek solace in drugs and drink.
However, the Fowler clash was just the fight he needed to get him on the straight and narrow – and focused. Making the bookies and many other people, who had predicted an easy Fowler win, look foolish, Fitzgerald showed just what a class act he is in the ring.
Now the world appears to be his oyster and it will be interesting to see what his next move is. The mandatory challenger for Ted Cheeseman’s British super-welterweight title, a fight against the Londoner is the obvious one.
However, what is really capturing the imagination especially around these parts is a potential ‘derby dust-up’ with Blackpool veteran Brian Rose.
Many observers have questioned why the Preston man would take such a fight against someone who is perhaps nearing the end of his career. But Fitzgerald senses a fight against Rose would ignite the Preston v Blackpool rivalry and would work wonders for his growing fan-base.
An admirer of the popular Ricky Hatton, Fitzgerald would love to cultivate a following even the Hitman would have been proud of in his pomp.
Where that fight against Rose would take place, who knows?
The romantic suggestion is Preston North End’s Deepdale Stadium, but that would appear to be a no-goer as officials at the club have confirmed the ground is unsuitable for staging boxing shows as there are no exits at ground level.