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LEFT behind; Fowler frustrated as SOUTHPAW GETS THE UPPER HAND.

Byline: PIPPA FIELD Sports Reporter sport@liverpool.com @LIVECHOSPORT

ANTHONY FOWLER cut a frustrated figure as his Rio 2016 adventure came to an alltoo-premature finish following an opening round defeat.

Drawn against 2013 world champion Zhanibek Alimkhanuly, Liverpool middleweight Fowler was always going to have to be at his best to progress into the last 16.

In his mind, he won the opening round but the judges said otherwise and his cause was not helped further when he was sent to the canvas during the second.

The 25-year-old Commonwealth Games champion got to his feet but the damage was already done, with Fowler needing to find something special in the final round to keep his Olympic Games hopes alive.

As it was, it was the Kazakh puncher who maintained his grip on the bout with Fowler landing the occasional heavy hit but nothing to seriously trouble either his opponent or the judges scorecard.

"That was a tough fight. I knew as soon as the draw was made I was up against it," he said afterwards.

"He was world champion a few years back and he's not lost many fights.

"It just wasn't meant to be on the day. I thought I'd won the first round which was a close one and then second round he caught me with a shot that I didn't quite see.

"And then after that he got the momentum and I was chasing the fight a bit and it just wasn't meant to be.

"I thought it was 1-1 going into the last round. It's hard so I tried to put it around a little bit more.

"He just got the better of me tonight. He had that arm with the left hook, I just couldn't evade it. I couldn't get away."

Three years ago Fowler won World Championship bronze before following that up with the Commonwealth title 12 months later.

However there will be no podium visit this time around in Brazil, with Fowler not the only British boxer to be knocked out of the competition on Monday - Lawrence Okolie succumbing to Cuban Erislandy Savon.

Although the Liverpool boxer, who will now take his time to consider his next step, believed he was able to pinpoint where he had gone wrong.

"I've been trying to get southpaw sparring with Billy Joe Saunders and James deGale for a while now but they're not in the camp the same time I am. That's where I went wrong," he added.

"I've been sparring Josh Buatsi all the time and he's just not the same style as these southpaws.

"It's held me back a lot because I've only really lost to southpaws the last few years, apart from the French fighter who's a brave fighter.

"It's just southpaws I've been struggling with. The lack of sparring in the squad just cost me.

"I'm going to have a little bit of time off when I get home and then weigh up the options. I don't really want to talk about it too much just yet."

Kazakhstan's Zhanibek Alimkhanuly, left, gets the better of Anthony Fowler

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 10, 2016
Words:515
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