Rose too hot for Holmes
Canadian Phil Rose earned himself a place in the 2017 Wray and Nephew Contender finals on July 26, when he defeated Jamaican hope Richard Holmes by split decision at The Mico University College campus on Wednesday night.
Although the seven-round fight was close and hard-fought, there was no doubt that Rose was the better man, and thoroughly deserved his victory. Judges Keith Brown 68-65 and David Dunbar 67-66 voted for Rose, while Lindell Allen had it 68-65 for Holmes.
Rose, who is the No. 1 ranked Canadian in the competition, will meet the No. 1 ranked Jamaican, Sakima Mullings in what is expected to be an action-packed final.
The Canadian had declared from the start of the competition that he planned to go all the way, and his performance on Wednesday showed that he is capable of keeping his word.
After Wednesday's fight, he said: "I prepared for 10 rounds, so I had no problems going seven, and I like how I felt in the ring. I can only get better and stronger for the finals."
He paid tribute to the fighting spirit shown by Holmes and said that he was really tested. "Holmes is good, and fought hard, but I was the better man on the night."
Holmes echoed those sentiments. "I was well prepared and my plan was to try for the knockout. He hits hard, however, and hurt me in round two. I got past that round and nearly knocked him out in the fourth round, but it did not happen. He deserves a lot of credit. He is strong, hits hard, and will not be easy to beat in the final."
Holmes, who suffered a cut over his left eye in the second round from an accidental clash of heads, said that he was distracted by the cut but he had no excuses, as his opponent earned the victory with his power punching.
"He is one of the strongest fighters and hardest punchers I have ever met," the Jamaican volunteered.
He had a great start and won the first round, but Rose was on the hunt in the second round, which was one of his best.
Holmes had a great fourth round and at one stage had Rose holding on, but he was not able to keep the momentum going, as Rose was too strong for him at close range.
"I had to go outside and move a lot as he was out-punching me inside" said the Jamaican.
Although he kept moving, however, he did not help himself by either clinching at the wrong time, or not throwing the jabs that he needed to score points.
His consolation at the end was that he once more finished in the top four of the competition. He was a finalist last year, but lost to Demarcus Corley.