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Anthony Fowler looking for European title shot against Sergio Garcia in 2021

Fowler is set to return Feb. 20 in another tune-up type bout with Jorge Fortea.

Manchester Arena Boxing Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

British junior middleweight Anthony Fowler has had a serious of get-well and tune-up style bouts since his Mar. 2019 loss to Scott Fitzgerald, and he’s got one more of that sort coming Feb. 20 when he faces Jorge Fortea on the Avanesyan-Kelly show, which will stream live on DAZN.

But at 29, the time is now for Fowler (13-1, 10 KO) to get back to something more serious if he’s going to do it, and he’s got his sights set on a possible European title fight with Spain’s Sergio Garcia if or when he gets past Fortea. And it’s worth noting that (1) Fowler knows it’s time to step up, and (2) he won’t overlook Fortea, another Spaniard.

“I’ve got to step up now,” said Fowler. “I’ve been pro for a few years. I’ve had 14 fights so it’s about time that I step up the levels. This lad is ranked in the world and he’s no mug. I’ve got to be ready for a long fight because he’s going to be hard to pin down and catch. I’ve got to keep my composure, stay calm and follow the game plan.

“He looks like a tricky lad. He went 12 rounds with a Russian called Bakhram Murtazaliev who I think is rated number one with the IBF. This is a good test to prepare me for the bigger fights that are coming my way later this year.

“When I beat Fortea I want to box a Sergio Garcia or Ted Cheeseman. That’s the level I want to be at this year. I want to be pushing on now and testing myself. Garcia would be a great fight for me and I could potentially box him after Fortea. Until I prove myself at British and European level I can’t start calling for the big names.

“I feel like I’m coming into my own this year. There’s no point messing around anymore. It’s time to push on now and see what level I’m at. I want to be a contender. I want to be British, European and world champion. I’ve got to be fighting these kids and beating them well. It’s about time I tested myself.”

Garcia (33-0, 14 KO) is at the very least a fantastic European-level fighter, fringe at the world level. Ted Cheeseman took a shot at in in Feb. 2019 and was outclassed over 12 rounds, the fight wasn’t remotely close. But Garcia, 30, has been content to stay put in Spain and box obviously over-matched opponents since then, too. His ambition seems relatively light.

As for Cheeseman (16-2-1, 9 KO), the 25-year-old former British champion will face JJ Metcalf for that vacant belt on Mar. 6, part of the Povetkin-Whyte 2 card, which will also air on DAZN. Cheeseman would be a very easy fight to make if he beats Metcalf.

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