Anthony Fowler to shine on debut
Gold medallist gets rid of the vest
All eyes will be on Kell Brook’s world title defence against unbeaten American Errol Spence Jr on Saturday in front of a packed-out Bramall Lane, and millions watching around the world. But earlier in the evening, without the same fanfare, and a lot less seats filled, boxing fans get a chance to glimpse a vision of the future.
Scouse scrapper Anthony Fowler may not be a household name on the British sporting scene just yet – but he’s fired up, and determined to remedy that. The exciting prospect signed a professional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sports earlier this year, and is being touted as the next big thing on the domestic scene.
Talented amateur ready for the big stage
Avid followers of the noble art will remember Fowler as the hard-working middleweight who represented England as an amateur, blazing a trail of glory all the way to a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow three years ago. Beating respected Indian Vijender Singh on a unanimous points decision in the final, he carried that success on from the world championships the year before, where he picked up bronze in Kazakhstan.
With the vest now tucked away at the back of his locker, Fowler aims to make waves as a paid fighter – and what better stage to announce his arrival? The 26-year-old will step out on the undercard of a world title fight, and that alone shows just how valuable he is to Hearn and co.
Heavy-handed Geikins a lively opponent
Further proof, if any was needed, comes in the form of his opponent. Far from being flung in with a glorified punchbag to go through the motions and show off, Anthony Fowler faces a real livewire in Latvian hard man Arturs Geikins. If anyone in Team Fowler take their eye off the ball here, this man has the power to cause some serious damage.
Showing promise early in his career, Geikins was the victim of modern boxing – not enough of a draw to sell tickets, but too much of a danger to use as an opponent for most prospects. I should know – and all too well! Saturday night’s underdog started off with a win over previously unbeaten star Warren Fenn, and then I matched him at the York Hall, Bethnal Green in my fourth fight as a pro. An unbeaten 3-0 prospect at the time, I recall TKO Gym teammate Danny ‘Cassius’ Connor telling my handlers not to touch this guy, he’s too dangerous and hits too hard for an inexperienced fighter starting off in the professional ranks.
They didn’t listen, and it cost me my unbeaten record. I remember the fight well, it was, strangely, the best I’d ever boxed at the time, and probably one of my best performances to this day. I hit and moved and boxed his ears off in the early part. He was a big, strong, clumsy fighter, but had unreal power in both hands, and it was only a matter of time before he got one of those shots off. And that’s what he did.
Fowler should box his way to win
If I could offer any advice to Fowler it would be to ignore the first fight nerves and the crowd, stay tight and pick Geikins apart. He’s easily out-boxed, but don’t go looking for the finish until it’s there, and if it’s not, let it go. I boxed him at welter – or I was a welter anyway, he was always a big boy – but this is two weights up, and against a natural middle, Fowler will prove a straightforward winner.
It also looks, by flicking through his record, that Arturs has seen sense and is doing the journeyman thing now. It’s the only way a fighter with his background will make any money out of the game. Good luck to both men, it’s really living.