You could be forgiven for thinking that the 1/8 that many established bookmakers across the land were offering on Anthony Fowler to defeat Matchroom maverick, Scott Fitzgerald, was printing money.
Fowler, a Liverpudlian who trains like a machine, who fights in a similar manner to that of former Super-Middleweight world champion, Carl Froch, would surely have too much in the tank for a fighter who derives from a council estate in Preston.
What transpired can only be described as a boxing masterclass from Scott Fitzgerald, who put in a blockbuster display to see off former Team GB teammate, Fowler.
Fitzgerald, a self-proclaimed ‘Mad Man’ established his jab early, and gained the centre of the ring by round four – the Preston fighter soaked up pressure from the home fighter, but looked the stronger athlete throughout the bout and in the tenth and final round, his bitter counterpart tasted the foul taste of the canvas, which ultimately sealed the deal for Fitzy.
Before the fight, I caught up with Fitzgerald, to see how he felt about the biggest fight of his stop-start career to date.
The fighting pride of Preston was keen to describe just how important this fight meant to him.
He said: “I’ll be honest with you, I’ve taken this fight extremely, extremely seriously. I’ve prepared very differently for this fight. I’ve even quit the fags for this one pal, you know what I mean?”
Sky boxing pundit and former world champion, Jonny Nelson, has been outspoken in the media about how Fitzgerald hasn’t taken his career seriously in the past.
Mad Man has had a troubled past with cigarettes and drugs, specifically cocaine in the past.
He added: “I’ve always trained hard, I can’t say I’ve not always trained hard, but what I’ve not always done is the in-between bits right. The longest I’ve ever done solid, since I’ve turned a professional is two weeks. I ticked over well over the Christmas period, and since the first day of this year, I’ve trained twice a day, every day, other than days where I need the rest. This guy is in big, big trouble. Big trouble!”
This air of supreme confidence was clear throughout my chat with the man who lives on Larches, Preston.
Fitzy told SKY directly after the fight that he must develop hatred for his opponent in order to get the best out of himself.
Fowler and Fitzgerald gripped the boxing public with a spat which took place all over Twitter, both fighters having a riposte for their opponent’s usually unsavoury gags.
Fitzgerald’s dislike for his scouse slugfest counterpart was clear.
He said: “I’m a man, not a woman. I’m not one to be going around doing little bitchy things, I’m a man – I see a guy, I talk to him how I talk to him and I stay the same, always. Whereas that guy is an actor mate, he’s an actor. What he is doing is put an act on for this person, for how he wants him to see him and then he puts it on for the other person, whereas I’m chatting to you how I’d chat to my bird, you know what I mean? So basically, he’s in my way right now and I’m training very hard and I feel like a maniac. I’ll be honest I f*cking hate him, I’m going to savage him, I swear to god he’s getting savaged.”
One would be hesitant to suggest that Mad Man performed a savage victory over Fowler, as it was a pulsating battle, but the sentiments are there – Fitzgerald was brimming with confidence and he produced a performance to salivate over.
Fitzgerald’s skill, speed, endurance, bravery and prowess will no doubt serve him well in the future.
What’s next for Fitzgerald is yet to be announced, but names such as Ted Cheeseman and Sergio Garcia have been rumoured.
Fitzgerald is looking forward to what the future holds.
He added: “When I win this fight there’s some huge fights. I fought on that Cheeseman-Garcia card and was ringside. I’ve got a lot of respect for Chezzy, boxed well but got out-fought, that’s how tough this game is. The other lad, what a performance, what a jab! But let me tell you what I saw there, two little guys at my weight class holding titles, and I want either of them next. I’d rather have Ted Cheeseman, only because that’s my way of getting the British title, which I’ve always really wanted, and then I’d go for the Garcia fight – I’d love to fight both of them by the end of the year, and I’ll be sat at the end of this year, Christmas time in the Wheatsheaf pub with all my f*cking titles.”
Ted Cheeseman is the most likely opponent, but former world title challenger, Brian Rose, of Blackpool, has called out Fitzgerald since the fight – a fight that raises the hairs on the necks of those from Preston and Blackpool, competing for the bragging rights and pride of both places.
The future looks bright for Fitzy, but it wasn’t a path he was encouraged to go down.
Fitzgerald’s dad and trainer, Dave, was a professional boxer, but his son’s birth into sport was frowned upon by his son’s mother.
Fizty said: “My dad had been a boxer and I’d grown up knowing it, but my mum and dad weren’t together, my parents had split up. They hated each other. My mum was never going to let me box, but in the end I managed to be able to be allowed to go to the gym training and then I started sparring and doing well with kids that I shouldn’t be doing well with, and in the end I was having fights without telling my mum. I had seven and won six and then she found out at that point. When I went on and won belts, she started to change her mind on it, and when I won a gold medal, I was the star kid like, I’ve got a sister who’s a dentist, but here I am, star kid!”
The boxer from Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, and maybe one day could become a national treasure. Nothing personifies Proud Preston as much as the rise of Scott Fitzgerald.
Proud Preston – Proud of Scott Fitzgerald.