Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Rose eases into Contender semi-finals

Published:Friday | June 9, 2017 | 6:00 AMLeroy Brown

Phil Rose, the top-rated Canadian in the 2017 Wray and Nephew Contender series, earned himself a semi-final spot and one of the main money prizes, when he out-punched countryman David Leblond to take a unanimous decision in their five-round quarter-final match at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Wednesday night.

Judge Lindell Allen scored the fight 48-47, Clifford Brown had it 50-45, and Laurence Neufville, 49-46.

Sakima Mullings, the top-rated Jamaican, earned himself a semi-final spot the previous week, so two spots now remain and will be competed for in the coming weeks. The main prize is the Contender title and $2-million, second prize is $500, 000, third prize $250, 000 and fourth prize $200, 000.

Leblond, who was having his third fight in the series in 40 days, showed the effects of this gruelling schedule, and with Rose exerting a lot of pressure from the first bell, he wilted. He was, in fact, competing vigorously with Rose to the final bell. His trainer, Patrice Trudeau, conceded that Rose was just too good for his boxer on Wednesday.

"Phil is bigger than David. He hits hard and the size difference was obvious. David worked hard and his speed kept him in the fight, but his legs went early, perhaps as early as round two, and that made the difference."

Rose, who has Jamaican parents and a strong Jamaican following, was pleased with his work for the night.

"I fought well, I got the victory, and I move on," he said.

He conceded that it was not an easy fight because Leblond was competitive all the way, but believes that he can only improve. "My aim is to win the title, and I said this from the first time that I was here. This is just one more step in that direction."

Next week, Jamaica's Richard Holmes goes up against Canada's Frank Cotroni in the third semi-final.