Wednesday, September 19, 2012

44-year-old former world boxing champion Fitz Vanderpool wins comeback bout

It’s not really unusual these days for retired boxers to make a comeback and about half of them are successful. You can add another name to that list now as 44-year-old Fitz Vanderpool beat Phil Rose by a unanimous decision in Guelph, Ontario, Canada on Sept 15. Vanderpool is a former WBF World Jr. Middleweight Champion and former Canadian welterweight titleholder.

Vanderpool retired from the sport seven years ago and was fighting the 30-year-old Rose at a catch weight of 165 lbs., up quite a bit from his days as a junior middleweight. Vanderpool’s corner men wore shirts with “unfinished business” written on them at the bout in front of about 1, 500 people at the Sleeman Centre. The scores were 58-56, 58-56, and 59-55.

After the fight, Vanderpool stated that a lot of people didn’t want him to win the bout as they were against him making a comeback for some reason. He said many people asked him why he was returning to the ring with some of them even sending hateful messages. He added that he was willing to put in a lot of hard work to be successful and believed in his abilities. He feels some boxers may have been a little upset with him because he put in the work and they don’t want to put the same amount of effort into their careers. He claimed that’s not a legitimate reason to be mad at him for making a comeback.

As expected, Vanderpool got off to a relatively slow start since he had seven years of ring rust to shake off. He spent too much time with his back on the ropes in the early going, but got stronger as the fight went on. He used his experience against Rose and actually had better stamina than his younger opponent. Vanderpool said he went into the fight with a lot of pressure on him as one of Canada’s most-ever successful boxers. He knew he had a reputation to live up to and said there was no way he was going to be beaten because of all the preparation and training he put in. He said he was happy with the win and did what he had to do to earn the decision.

He admitted that he’s always been a slow starter and that didn’t discourage him against Rose. Vanderpool stated that he usually gets going after the third or fourth round but knew that wouldn’t be good enough in a six-round fight. He said his corner told him to use his jab to keep Rose at bay, so he followed the advice and used his speed advantage and boxing skills to score from the outside. He just wanted to outbox his opponent and not knock him out. It’s possible that Vanderpool will enter the ring again after he turns 45 in November and hopes to get a shot at the Canadian middleweight or junior middleweight titles sometime in early 2013.

With the win, Vanderpool, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, ups his pro record to 25-7-4 with 13 KOs. Rose of Whitby, Ontario falls to 4-2-1, with 3 KOs.

Ian Palmer
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