Rising Preston boxer Scott Fitzgerald will benefit in the long term from a tough evening’s work on Saturday at the Liverpool Arena.
That is the view of his father and trainer Dave after he watched his son suffer the first knockdown of his professional career against the experienced Adam Jones.
The Commonwealth Games champion looked in full control of the bout as he dominated the opening two rounds against his taller opponent.
However, the 24-year-old appeared to abandon his game-plan of working behind his jab, as he looked to land a big knockout blow in the third.
That left him open to the counter by Jones and he was dumped on the canvas with a right-hander to the temple, followed by a left just a few seconds before the bell.
Jones, who had never been stopped in 26 previous bouts despite losing 16 of them, sensed a surprise victory, and Fitzgerald still looked slightly dazed as he stood up at the corner for the fourth round.
Fortunately, the ex-Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club ace regained his composure to have the better of the final three rounds to secure victory.
It was certainly light-middleweight Fitzgerald’s toughest examination since turning pro at the end of last year.
His four previous fights had seen him earn three stoppages, while none of his opponents had managed to land a significant punch on him.
That was not the case on Saturday, but Fitzgerald Snr believes the experience will stand him in good stead for the future.
“The big thing for Scott was he wanted to be the first person to stop Jones,” said Dave Fitzgerald. “That was where he went wrong.
“He was never going to stop him because he was a big, experienced strong guy.
“The first two rounds, he fought exactly how we have taught him.
“In the third round he got hit by a big right hand to the temple and then was knocked over by his elbow.
“It was towards the end of the round and he said he still felt a bit wobbly at the start of the fourth.
“But he did well to get it back together and it’s a good win in the end.
“He lost the third 10-8, but won every other round, so he’s done well.
“He clocked off for that moment and ended up on his backside, but it’s a good learning experience for him.
“If that had not happened in the third round, everybody would be saying, ‘Isn’t Scott brilliant?’ and talking about how good he is.
“It was a bit of a wake-up call for him.”
One slight disappointment for the Preston fighter was that he failed to impress in front of the cameras, as his fight was shown live on Sky Sports shortly before the main event of the evening – Tony Bellew’s world title defence against BJ Flores.
“He was on Sky and so he’s a little bit disappointed that he’s been put on his backside,” his father added. “Hopefully he will get on a big show again and impress next time.”
Fitzgerald is hoping for one final outing of the year and could feature on the undercard of IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s next fight, reportedly against Wladimir Klitschko.