When British light-middleweight champion ‘Prince’ Arron defends his title against Brian ‘The Lion’ Rose on December 3rd, the fancy nicknames are about as pre-fight razzmatazz as there is going to be. 

There will be no nonsense, no cussing and slagging of the other, no bad blood between camps, just a good old fashioned boxing match, between two fighters and their respected trainers, who will also pit their familiar wits against each other. 

 
Both fighters have known each other for a long time, they have sparred many rounds together, boxed on the same bills, travelled together and eat breakfast together on the mornings of previous fights. 

Both the protagonists coaches, Bob Shannon who trains the champion, Prince Arron and Bobby Rimmer who mentors Brian Rose, go back Donkey’s years having come through the Manchester boxing circuit together. Their respect and admiration for the other is immeasurable and only recently Shannon was helping do the cuts for Rimmer during one of his boxers fights, they are firm fight friends!

But it is now time to put all of them connections, bonds and emotions to one side, when they enter the square ring on December 3 at the Robin Park Centre in Wigan.

The competitiveness that runs through each participant in this meeting boxer and trainer, will come to the fore and this highly anticipated Lancashire derby fight will for a short time split them into rivals, each determined and professional enough to put friendships aside in the name of pugilism.
 
Both are in tremendous shape in the lead up to the fight and have been whiped into the best condition by the two Manchester trainers, who have more in common than the name ‘Bob’ – No stone as been left unturned by the wise headed coaches, who not only train and sweat there pupils, but guide and direct them as sons and family members, such is the close knit makeup of the boxer trainer relationship and mutual respect between them

Prince Arron won the Lonsdale belt by beating Sam Webb in May, via an impressive last round KO. – It was a performance that surpassed all others and ignited a career that had faltered and was on the verge of being burnt out before it had really begun. The Prince’s fuse had been lit, when in February 2010, Arron came from nowhere to win the Prizefighter Trophy, in tough a field of competitors. It was an unprecedented turn around for Arron and his coach Shannon.

Part 2

 

In his early career the young dangly Arron still an amateur, had been thrown into the lions den and suffered what were nearly damaging defeats, that he nearly didn’t come back from. His three early losses were against future British champion Anthony Small and then world ranked Irishman John Duddy, this all before his 19th birthday.

Sandwiched in between them two defeats was a loss to Leeds southpaw Danny Reynolds. – After the Duddy fight, Arron had decided he was to abdicate his mantel as a professional boxer and give up on a career in boxing.

But after a chance meeting with coach Shannon, while both were queing up in a shop, Arron’s destiny was to be changed for ever. – Shannon had watched the Prince from afar and witnessed his defeat to Duddy. But he had seen something in him that suggested, this teenager with a raw edge, had much more to offer to boxing and that boxing had more to offer him. Destiny or fate, the pair had crossed paths and that first chance meeting, paved the way for the resurrection of Prince Arron.

The pair began to work together and Arron got down to a serious training regime under the experienced wing of Shannon. – The trainer and pupil worked tirelessly on his technique and defence, which were factors in his previous defeats. It took lots of effort, patience and repetitiveness for it to click, but when it did and Shannon harnessed his boxers attributes, things started to happen in the second chapter of the Prince’s career!

Shannon now has a willing and dedicated student, who has ridden his early knocks, faced defeat and excepted it as educational experience. Still only 23 years old, Arron is now a self confessed gym rat, rarely away from Shannon’s training domain, situated in the cellar of the run down Crossley House Youth Centre on Ashton Old Road, just on the outskirts of Manchester City Centre.

Arron is now regarded by Shannon and many other respected judges, as one of the most improved British boxers on the current scene. The boy has now become a man. The skin and bone on his 6` 3″ long pale body, is now encased with ripped bronzed toned muscle. He now cuts the figure of a finally tuned athlete and not only looks the part of a professional sportsman, he also works, talks and lives like one. Himself and Shannon have a strong belief that they can achieve bigger things in boxing and they wont be looking to slip up at this stage.

The man looking to derail the ‘Princes’ rise through the ranks of boxing royalty, claim his crown and with it his own career turn around is ‘The Lion! Brian Rose. The English champion from Blackpool is currently on his own second coming as a fighter of championship ambition. The man from the seaside town, as got to this title shot and stage not without incident and setback. – Rose lost his unbeaten record against Max Maxwell in May 2010. After being ahead in the fight and boxing comfortably, he let his guard slip, lost concentration and was knocked out in round six of what was meant to be an eight round filler fight before his British title challenge.

With a title shot in mind, it could be claimed that Rose over looked Maxwell and he probably did, but that wasn’t the only factor in his mind not being totally on the job of being a fighter. In hindsight, Rose shouldn’t have been in the ring that night. He wasn’t mentally prepared and had not dealt with the sadness, guilt and numbness he was feeling after the events that took place in the fight previous to the Maxwell loss.

In October 2009, Rose met Doncaster’s Jason Rushton for the vacant Central Area title. The Lion went on to win the fight and claim his first professional belt, it was meant to be a night of celebration, but turned into anguish and sorrow. Rushton had boxed out of his skin that night at the Bolton Arena and was pushing Rose all the way, until in the final round, Rose got on top and forced the stoppage. 

The events that unfolded are still too hard for many to revisit, but for Rushton’s family, his dad John who was in his corner that night, his mother, partner Nadia and their children, it was a living nightmare, that they and Jason are still coming to terms with. Rushton collapsed on the way back to his dressing room after the fight and was rushed to hospital. He had suffered bleeding on the brain and was subsequently put into a drug induced coma and operated on that night at Salford Hope Hospital in Manchester. He spent weeks in intensive care before fighting back from death’s door to pull through. But it has been a long hard struggle back to health and normality for Jason and them close to him. But with the help of his loved ones and his warrior DNA, he continues to battle back.

Part 3

The events that unfolded that night left Jason and Bobby shell shocked, devastated and so sick with boxing neither wanted to carry on with it, questioning the cruel sport that they love. They visited the stricken Rushton in hospital and were again left devastated by the condition that he was in at the time. After months of soul searching and sleepless nights, the two friends supported each other through it and decided to carry on in there chosen profession. They realised that it was boxing that they knew best, what they were about and what they would continue to do.

Brian and Bobby, like there counterparts Arron and Bob have a great working relationship. But added to that is the father and son type bond. But to Brian, Bobby is much more to him than just that. he is a mentor a landlord to Rose, his guardian, cook, cleaner confidante and best friend! – The last couple of years have tested that to the limit, but together they have inspired and pushed each other on. Both admit now that the Jason Rushton events affected them more than they realised or were willing to admit at the time.

When Rose faced Max Maxwell in his next fight after the Rushton fight, it is now clear that he wasn’t in the correct frame of mind to be back in the ring. Rose was knocked out in the sixth round, losing his first fight as a professional and with it his British title shot. Since that defeat Rose as gone on to have three more fights, winning the English title against Lee Noble in November last year. Again both boxer and trainer questioned themselves and came to the decision to go and seek counseling to talk about the Jason Rushton fight, his injuries and how, if they were to be successful in boxing, they could move on and condition their minds to carry on in the hurt game.

After hours of counseling sessions they were able to come to terms with their own position and where they were going. They both decided that they would build back up to a British title fight, that was taken away from them the first time in the Maxwell fight. So now after three wins on the trot, Rose and Rimmer are now back in contention for that shot at domestic glory and should they do it and rip the Lonsdale jewels from Prince Arron and Shannon, the turn around will be against all the odds and one of sheer fighting spirit and resolve.

Part 4

Arron and Shannon though are not ready to listen to any sentiment, there own setbacks and desires to push forward to other titles and bigger achievements, will and has pushed the champion to the limits, they know fine well that Rose is a big threat to any future plans they may have made.

I was granted exclusive access to both camps in the final two weeks of the boxers preparations and spent time with both fighters and trainers, on either side of Manchester. With just a video camera, I attempt to capture the boxers and trainers at their best, in there natural environment. Find out their thoughts and feelings on the big fight coming up and there careers to date, including the ups and downs of both fighters and their paths to this point.

All 4 video parts above