Mullings versus Rose for $2 million
CANADIAN boxer Phil Rose wants to win on his parents' home soil, but will have to get past a man of the soil, Sakima Mullings, who is confident he can create history by being the first to win the Wray & Nephew Contender Series twice with $2m on the line.
Mullings previously won as a welterweight and now fights as a junior middleweight. Rose is a super welterweight with more than 20 years' boxing experience. Born in Durham, southern Ontario, he fought in the pros for six years. On November 20 last year, his first fight in two years, he knocked out Ryan Young, who was also a Contender in the tournament.
Rose has been practising in the gym daily, doing cardio exercises and working on his defence strategy. He has been watching reruns of previous fights to identify his own weaknesses and those of Mullings.
Mullings said he is prepared enough to overcome Rose, a heavy-duty mechanic with the Canadian National Railway Company.
"I feel good. I am just happy that I have been able to keep my form, and I have been able to make it back in the finals again," Mullings said.
More experienced fighter
"I believe I have a better advantage at winning because of the fact that I have done the tournament before. I have more fights than him. I am a more experienced fighter. For three times in my career, I have gone 12 rounds and I finished the strongest in those fights," he added.
Rose said winning the title would mean more than a major career accomplishment. It would be a life-changing experience for him and his family members. He has always wanted to contribute something to Jamaica, his parents' birthplace.
He was born in Ontario, Canada, on June 6, 1982. However, like many young people of Jamaican heritage, he identifies with the island his parents hail from. His mother, Claudette Beckford, originates from Red Hills, St Andrew. His father, Phil Rose, is from Rose Lane in Kingston.
Rose said he was overjoyed to have the golden opportunity of fighting in Jamaica. He believes the competition could provide the right impetus for his career.
"To come back to Jamaica was an amazing feeling, and winning would mean a lot to me and my career and put me in the spotlight. But more so, it would allow me to give back to the country where my parents are from."
After 14 weeks of competition, the final is on at The Mico University College tonight. Television Jamaica will air the match live, starting at 9:30.