By: Kirk Jackson
Exiting the scorching months of the summer and entering the fall, the recent talk of significant welterweight match-ups in the making, features the combination of talents ranging from current WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (36-0, 27 KO’s), former unified WBC and WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-1, 22 KO’s) and former IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook (39-2, 27 KO’s), also known as “Special K” or simply “The Special One.”
As of last Friday, there are talks or at least the beginning stages of negotiation between Crawford and Brook. Reportedly, an offer of 1.5 million was offered to Team Brook, for a fight against Crawford to take place at some point later in year.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn recently revealed he’s aligning Brook to face the three-division champion Crawford.
“I had a couple of conversations with Bob Arum and Top Rank VP of operations, Carl Moretti yesterday. And I feel that’s a big fight for UK TV, so we’re trying to help out and get that over the line,” Hearn told IFL TV.
“I would love to see Kell get that fight. I think Top Rank had a conversation with Keith Thurman and obviously they wanted too much money. It’s difficult at the moment. Crawford wants a lot of money and Kell wants a lot of money. He deserves it. We’re trying to make that fight happen to assist Top Rank in getting the numbers together.”
But preceding this negotiation, were talks of Crawford potentially facing Thurman. Prior to that, there were discussions of Thurman facing Brook.
“Thurman’s people got in touch with me, but they’re out to lunch,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com. “They have such crazy expectations that just don’t exist anymore. Their money demands are crazy. They said they were free agents, which I’m sure they are. But again, who’s gonna pay what they’re looking for?”
However, Arum didn’t disclose the dollar amount Thurman’s representative requested, nor identify who contacted him on Thurman’s behalf. Thurman in recent interviews talked about potentially facing Crawford in the near future, but never mentioned a price tag.
Thurman is likely to return and headline a FOX broadcast later this year in December, albeit his opponent has yet to be determined.
Crawford for his part, spoke on the potential fight with Thurman in a recent interview.
“You don’t know what you want to do,” said Crawford. “Because if a contract was sent to Keith Thurman, he would find a way out. So, stop playing with my name. You’re a guy who just cries wolf.”
Thurman’s retort however, conveys the opposite of what Arum and Crawford insinuate about Thurman regarding a potential showdown between the pair.
“Right now, I want [Terence] Crawford more now, man,” Thurman stated. “He got under my skin. Errol [Spence]? That’s a timeline issue. I know how the game works. We got the same manager. That’s a timeline issue. This Crawford dude? Send a contract, bro. Tell ESPN to send some zeroes my way. They know an appropriate number. I sign on the dotted line.”
“Don’t act like I run from you. You never got respect in the game anyway at 147. You ain’t pushed the buttons at 147. You ain’t touched Shawn Porter. You ain’t touched Thurman. You ain’t touched [Danny] Garcia. You ain’t touched Spence. I’m gonna run out of fingers! I can name all my opponents you ain’t touched. I’m gonna run out of fingers, boy! Stop it, just stop it!”
Question is, why can’t Arum and company negotiate a price tag with Thurman, if the demand is that high? Negotiate with Team Thurman, like the negotiations that took place with Team Amir Khan last year.
Unless of course, a fight against Thurman is not what Arum and company truly want. Arum and Crawford for that matter, have their sights set on current WBA champion Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO’s). But with representation on behalf of Pacquiao mentioning he’ll be on the shelf for the duration of 2020, “Bud” has to set his sights elsewhere.
However within this current welterweight mix-up, exists a pairing that makes perfect sense for each participant.
Focusing on that pairing; featuring Thurman versus Brook, makes the most sense for both fighters.
For Brook, his last three opponents since losing his IBF welterweight title to Errol Spence Jr. in May 2017, are Sergey Rabchenko, Michael Zerafa in March and December of 2018 respectively, along with Mark DeLuca in February of this year.
Nice string of comeback fights to work out the ring rust, to build confidence and tread towards the path back to the top again.
Brook is searching for that signature fight and payday before calling it quits on a pretty solid career. As mentioned in his interview with IFL TV, he wants either Thurman or Crawford and the former unified WBA and WBC champion provide Brook with what he is seeking.
Expanding on the signature fight, and more importantly the signature win aspect, Brook’s biggest fights to date were against Shawn Porter, Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence. After securing victory in a close fight against Porter to win his world title, Brook suffered technical knockout defeats against Golovkin (In a bid for middleweight world titles) and Spence (Losing his IBF world title).
Brook has staked claim in wanting more. He wants to be known for something greater and if that’s the case, he will chase another signature win against another high-level opponent.
“Making 147 (lbs.) is something Terence [Crawford] and all these American fighters seem to love to ask me to do when it’s put on their toes: ‘Would you fight Kell Brook?’ Tell Kell Brook to make weight,’” Brook said. “It’s fine though. It shows me they respect my ability and take some sort of comfort from convincing themselves it might not happen.”
“I boxed in February. I’ve been ticking over during lockdown and I’m back in the boxing gym training. By the fall time, I’ll be more than ready, I will make the weight. Then I’ll make the wait worthwhile!”
Concentrating on Thurman, who commands strong standing and a high measure of star power amongst his contemporaries. For Thurman, suffering defeat in a closely contested championship bout against a future Hall of Famer doesn’t lower his stock. Especially considering he was exhilarating in defeat.
Any fight featuring Thurman will be on network television like FOX and will be a headliner event. Meaning, there will be a ton of promotion, high viewership and great revenue earning opportunities. If Brook is to secure a bout with Thurman and emerge victorious, that places him in great position for an even bigger fight.
It’s important to state, a hypothetical victory for Brook over Thurman would also be his biggest win to date. Due to certain variables, the fight against Thurman may be Brook’s best chance for a win against high-level and highly acclaimed opposition.
One of those variables, is Thurman’s history of injuries. Dating back to July of 2015, Thurman has only competed five times. But like “One Time,” “The Special One” has his history of unfortunate injuries.
According to his own testimony, Thurman was injured in most of his recent fights. The mental aspect of recovery and rehabilitation is a battle in itself, a battle Brook shares.
“It’s hard for someone to show me an opportunity and watch me say no,” said Thurman. “I could maybe take a tune-up. But I like great fights and significant challenges. Whoever, I fight, I know there’s going to be a following. I want to make it worth my while. Those training camps are not easy. I want my opponent to be worthy of all the pain and suffering that is involved in the whole event for it to be really worthwhile.”
What would be the incentive for Thurman to fight Brook?
Brook is a name, a former champion and a fighter with a following. Brook has the support of the United Kingdom. They have interesting styles, contrasting styles but share many traits in common. It can be argued both are entering the back-end of their professional careers and plotting for pivotal standing in a loaded division at welterweight.
Based on the quote from Thurman, Brook represents what he is seeking. They both bring great intangibles to the table and can mutually benefit from facing one another.
Fans and critics alike question if Thurman still has it and wonder if he can return to the same form that he had when capturing the WBC and WBA welterweight titles? What better way to begin his comeback trail than against a fighter in a similar position?
Another facet to consider, a common link the two share is Errol Spence. Many observers believe Thurman visibly ducked Spence for several years, while Brook was the first active champion at the time, to provide Spence an opportunity for the world title, as Spence worked his way up to mandatory challenger. Thurman in fact told Spence to acquire a world title or two first, before he would grant that opportunity.
In recent months, Thurman claimed desires of wanting to fight Spence, while Brook has maintained his yearning for a rematch ever since losing to the Texan back in 2017. If Thurman faces and defeats Brook, that may place him in position for Spence, as they’ll then share another common opponent. For Brook of course, if he were to win the hypothetical, keeps him in the sweepstakes for a rematch.
An added benefit for “One Time” by facing Brook, is he keeps other unfavorable options on the back burner.
Thurman is a highly sought out target and may find himself fighting off a bevy of would be challengers. The aforementioned Spence was always a name pursing a clash against Thurman, Porter is seeking the rematch and Garcia stated he would like a rematch at some point as well. The Clearwater native may not be ready for those bouts when he returns in December.
There is also a crop of young talent, itching at the opportunity to get a crack at Thurman. Jaron Ennis (25-0, 23 KO’s), who fights September 19 and Vergil Ortiz (16-0 16 KO’s), fresh off his victory last month over veteran Samuel Vargas.
While Thurman would be favored in any of those match-ups, or even in other bouts against Yordenis Ugas, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Jessie Vargas, Sergey Lipnets, Ray Robinson, etc., the risk may not warrant the potential reward. Especially if the end goal is to get the rematch against Pacquiao, or the eventual fight against Spence. Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia would be exceptions to that rule.
For Thurman, especially if he secures the December date, not only prolongs talks of bouts against any of the aforementioned fighters, but a win and spectacular victory at that (Hopefully injury-free) over Brook leaves him with an opportunity for a larger scale fight against some of the bigger names once the welterweight schedule clears up.
Much is at stake for Thurman and Brook, but each fighter has the opportunity to make the best of this proposed scenario and this is a great opportunity for both parties.
Will it still be KO’s for life and are chocolate brownies on the menu?
By Rich Lopez
Boxing was back in Sheffield, England and it marked the return of former welterweight champion Kell Brook. The main event and a four fight undercard was streamed on DAZN and promoted by Matchroom Boxing. After a fourteen month layoff and now campaigning in the super welterweight division, Brook gave his fans a warm welcoming.
In the main event, Kell “Special K” Brook (38-9, 27 KO’s) of Sheffield, England stopped Mark “The Bazooka” DeLuca (24-2, 13 KO’s) of Quincy, Massachusetts, in the seventh round. It has been a long layoff for Brook and it was apparent in the first round. Both fighters felt each other out. Brook was coming forward and studying his opponent, while DeLuca was looking to counter punch. The action picked up in round two. Brook started to let his hands go and landed a few straight punches to the head of DeLuca. Finally after shaking the rust off, Brook got going in the third round. Brook landed a right hand that hurt DeLuca. Brook then landed a right hook and a left hook that dropped DeLuca. A bloodied DeLuca got up and finished the round. DeLuca, who is an ex-Marine, was tough as they come. He stayed strong and was fighting hard in the fourth round. Brook took his time but then landed a flurry of punches to the head of Deluca. Brook continued working combinations to the head of DeLuca in round five. DeLuca at times would land a nice body shot on Brook but he was more on the defensive. In round six, Brook sensing his man was wearing out, landed a barrage of punches on DeLuca. In round seven, Brook landed a hard right hand that hurt DeLuca. DeLuca decided to trade with Brook. As the fighters exchanged punches, Brook landed a stiff left jab that connected and dropped DeLuca. DeLuca was on his back and then started to get up slowly. However, the ref counted him out and the time of the stoppage was 1:15 of the seventh round.
Brook got the win and the knockout he was looking for. It remains to be seen how far he will go in the super welterweight division. He is aiming for a world title shot and his chances are good. As of now, the super welterweight has good talented fighters and there is no lineal champion as of yet. Brook’s comeback win today will put him in the mix with fighters such as Jeison Rosario, Jarrett Hurd, and Jermell Charlo.
In the co-feature, the WBC World Female Super Featherweight Championship changed hands. Local favorite Terri Harper (10-0, 5 KO’s) of Yorkshire, England earned a ten round unanimous decision and dethroned Eva Wahlstrom (23-2-2, 3 KO’s) of Finland. The first round was a feel out for both fighters. Harper seemed to edge the round by being a little busier of the two fighters. Wahlstrom came forward in round two but she was being out boxed by Harper. Round three was closer as Wahlstrom got in the inside and landed a right hand followed by a left hook on the chin of Harper. Wahlstrom got busier in rounds four and five. She did a better job of timing Harper with good counter right hands. In round six, Wahlstrom connected with a good right hook in the inside and was getting the better of the exchanges. After six rounds, the fight was even but then Harper stepped it up. In round seven, Harper dropped Wahlstromwith a quick right hand that caused a flash knockdown.Wahlstrom got up and decided to trade with Harper but was being outgunned. Towards the end of round eight, Harper landed a huge left hook that hurt Wahlstrom. At this point, Harper took over the fight. She decided to move and outbox Wahlstrom in rounds nine and the final tenth round. Harper was the winner after ten rounds with scores of 98-91 and 99-90 (twice).
Harper just added herself as one of the top female fighters by winning the WBC World Female Super Featherweight Title.
In an IBF Featherweight Title Eliminator bout, Kid Galahad (27-1, 16 KO’s) of Sheffield, England impressively stopped Claudio“The Matrix” Marrero (24-4, 17 KO’s) of the DominicanRepublic, in the eighth round. Galahad got to a good start immediately in the opening round. He was the busier of the two fighters and landed quick punches to the head of Marrero. In round two, Marrero started the round fast throwing a flurry of punches to the body of Galahad. In an exchange, both fighters landed hooks on each other. Galahad finished the round strong. Galahad was sticking and moving and landed straight punches to the head of Marrero in round three. Marrero picked up the pace in round four. He backed up Galahad with a good right hand. Galahad would once again finish the round strong. In rounds five and six, Marrero was looking frustrated as he could not land any good shots on the elusive Galahad. Galahad showed good speed and movement. In round seven, Marrero was stunned by a right hand from Galahad. Marrero was looking more tired and he was bleeding from his nose. Marrero took more of a beating in round eight as Galahad was landing hard punches at will. When the round ended, the corner of Marrero saw enough and made a decision to stop the fight.
Galahad’s only blemish on his record was to IBF Featherweight champion Josh Warrington in close contest. With this win, Galahad once again earns another title shot against IBF champion Josh Warrington. Expect a rematch soon between those two fighters.
In a six round heavyweight bout, David “White Rhino” Allen (18-5-2, 15 KO’s) of Doncaster, England, stopped Dorian Darch(12-12-1, 1 KO) of Aberdare, England, in the third round. Allen started the opening round coming forward with hands down and switching stances. Neither fighter did much in the round. In round two, Allen invited Darch to stand and trade with him but there was not much action going on in the round. Allen finally decided to let his hands go in round three. Allen wobbled Darchwith a left hook. Allen then landed a few body shots that dropped Darch. Darch got up but then went down again with head shots from Allen. Darch stayed down and did not want anymore. The time of stoppage was 53 seconds of the third round.
The opening bout of the telecast was a ten round super featherweight bout. Martin “Wardy” Ward (24-1-2, 11 KO’s) of Leeds, England, outworked Jesus Amparan (16-1, 14 KO’s) of Mexico, to earn a ten round unanimous decision. The best round for Amparan was the opening round. As Ward focused on boxing and moving, he was caught by a right hand from Amparan that staggered him. Ward grabbed Amparan and backpedaled the remaining round. After regaining his composure, Ward put on a boxing exhibition for the remainder of the fight. In rounds two and three, Ward boxed well moving side to side. Ward was teeing off on Amparan with straight right hands and uppercuts. Amparan picked up his pace in rounds four and five, but was too slow for the quicker Ward. Amparanlooked more frustrated in round six as Ward continued to counter punch him effectively. Ward dropped Amparan in round seven with a straight right hand to the body. Amparan got up and Ward went back to the body. From rounds eight to ten, Ward went back to boxing and focused on his counter punching. The tough Mexican hung in tough but was outclassed. The referee scored the fight a shut out with a score of 100-88 for Ward.
By: Sean Crose
Kell Brook had been kicking around for a while before he finally faced Shawn Porter for the IBF welterweight title in August of 2014. Few Americans knew who the native of Sheffield, England was before the Porter fight, but those who followed boxing closely knew that Porter was facing a legitimate challenge from across the pond. Sure enough, even though Porter had won impressively against Devon Alexander and Paulie Malignaggi in his previous bouts, the aggressive slugger was unable to effectively dissemble the strong, straight punching Brook. The Englishman ended up going home with a major world title and the eyes of the world upon him.
Although he ended up being criticized for facing less than stellar competition in his first three title defenses (against Ionut Dan Ion, Frankie Gavin, and Kevin Bizier respectively), Brook ultimately decided to do what boxing fans are supposed to honor fighters for doing – he dared to be great. Jumping two entire weight classes, Brook challenged middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin for Golovkin’s middleweight belts in September of 2016. It was some kind of fight. Brook not only held his own, he was truly in the bout. This proved to be all the more impressive when one considered the fact that Golovkin was arguably the most avoided name in boxing.
In the end, however, the night belonged to Golovkin. The Kazakh warrior simply proved to be too powerful for his admirably game and skilled opponent. Suffering from an eye injury, Brook ultimately took a beating from Golovkin until his corner wisely stopped the fight. He didn’t win the title, but Brook had earned considerable respect for challenging a fighter much naturally bigger men had little interest in facing. Yet Brook’s next opponent would be no soft touch, either. For rising American star Errol Spence Jr was a man on everyone’s radar – and for good reason.
Boasting a record of 21-0, Spence had mowed through his previous seven opponents in frightening fashion. None of the seven had made it to the final bell. Still, Brook was determined to once again prove just how good a fighter he was against a more popular and highly touted foe. And, once again, Brook looked terrific in the ring. He was, however, once more broken down as time went on. The fight was stopped in the 11th. After facing two of the most intimidating names in boxing, back to back, no less, Brook had performed well, but had come up short.
And then the sport seemed to forget about him. Even now, after over a year away from the ring, Brook remains essentially under the radar. Granted, Brook’s opponent in Sheffield this weekend, Mark DeLuca, is far from a household name. Still, one would expect, or hope, that Brook would get more love from fans for having dared to be great. For a fan base that constantly, and rightly, condemns fighters for avoiding challenges, for playing it safe, for cashing in over and over again, the disinterest in Brook is telling. Make no mistake – fans should call out individuals who avoid major challenges. They should also remember and respect those who have put it all on the line, even if they’ve come up short in the process.
Those who achieve greatness are deservedly lauded – but those who shoot for greatness and come up short in the process deserve some credit, as well.
By: Sean Crose
It’s been a long time since Kell Brook was last seen in the ring. In fact, it will have been well over a year since the Englishman fought professionally when he returns this Saturday to face Mark DeLuca in Sheffield. Brook, who has essentially fallen off the radar of the boxing public since dropping two fights in a row to top notch competition, is making a comeback of sorts, one which he hopes will catapult him back to the top of the fight game. “This last chapter of my career, I’m giving it my all,” The BBC quotes Brook as saying. “If I get beaten I can walk away with my head high, knowing I have given everything.”
The now 33 year old former champion has had quite the ride for himself. In 2014, Brook came to America and took the IBF world welterweight title from then undefeated champion Shawn Porter. He then went on to win three in a row against competition that was argued in some quarters to be lacking. As if to prove the naysayers wrong, Brook subsequently moved up two divisions to middleweight to face the feared Gennady Golovkin for Golovkin’s WBC and IBF world titles.
It was a grueling fight, one which Brook performed quite well in. Golovkin, however, ultimately proved to be too much and Brook’s corner stopped the bout in round five. In his next battle, Brook faced rising American star Errol Spence Jr back at welterweight. It was a terrific battle against top level competition. Again, however, Brook came up short, losing his IBF world welterweight title to the young Texan in the eleventh. There were two more fights after that – and then the layoff from which Brook now returns from. According to the BBC, Brook was distraught enough at the loss of his title to Spence to turn to counseling.
Now in a better place, the 38-2 Brook has been preparing to face Massachusetts southpaw DeLuca in a scheduled 12 round super welterweight affair before a hometown crowd at Sheffield Arena this weekend. Although it would be a considerable upset if DeLuca won, Brook is undoubtedly aware of the fact that he must be impressive if he wants to once again be looked upon as performing at the top of this game. His nickname, after all, is Special K, not Ordinary K. “My last fight wasn’t fantastic,” Brook is quoted by Sky Sports as saying. “I’ve got a lot to prove. All those who think I’m past it? I’ll show them.”
One of the more interesting things about Brook is that he’s a fighter who, even when he was a world champion, challenged himself. Contemporary boxers are forever being criticized for not daring to be great. Brook dared to be great when he faced Golovkin, then went back down to his own weight realm and faced perhaps the hottest rising star in the sport. He may have lost both fights, but he performed very strongly in each one. It’s enough to make a fan hope Brook gets another shot at glory.
By: Hans Themistode
It was one of the biggest fights of the year. You remember it don’t you? The fight just took place and it had nothing but fireworks.
Wait, that’s right. It never happened.
The once highly anticipated fight between Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) and Amir Khan (34-5, 21 KOs) was rumored to take place for years now. Fans have spent countless years hoping and praying that it would actually take place but unfortunately for the public, it has never happened.
Khan has always been on the fence about a fight with Brook. One minute he desperately wants the fight and the next he can care less about sharing the ring with his British rival.
With talks of their fight non existent, Khan recently expressed an interest in finally making it happen.
“I think it’s a great idea, definitely,” said Khan. “I think both of us will be fighting end of the year. Then we see early next year that fight between me and Kell can happen. We are both similar age. I think it’s a fight that we’ve been trying to make for a very long time. I think it’s getting very close to it now.”
Whether it is true or not, there seems to be a bit of progress for a British showdown to take place. This fight has been dangled in the face of boxing fans for years. Will they show the same interest as before? Khan believes so.
“We are in talks with Eddie and Kell’s team so hopefully we can make that fight happen. It’s a fight that the public want. It’s a massive fight in Britain, so let make it happen.”
Both fighters are still relatively young with Khan checking in at 32 years of age and Brook coming in just one year older. A boxers prime typically spans their early 30s but the milage that these two have accumulated in the ring actually brings there ring age closer to 40 than 30.
For Khan, he has been in numerous tough fights in his career. His never back down attitude has allowed him to pick up huge wins against Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana and Devon Alexander. He also has several knockout losses to Danny Garcia and Breidis Prescott. As bad as those losses were, they pale in comparison to the vicious one punch knockout loss at the hands of Canelo Alvarez in 2016. It was a fight that saw Khan move up two weight divisions, and although he boxed well early on, he paid a heavy price with the defeat.
Most recently, Khan was seen in the ring losing to arguably the best fighter in the world in Terence Crawford. There is no shame in that at all but when watching the fight, Khan just didn’t look the same. His trademark speed and boxing ability seemed to be all gone.
As for Brook, he too has been in a number of wars. The former Welterweight champion also moved up two weight divisions to take on former unified Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Brook fought a great fight that night but was ultimately stopped in the fifth round due to a broken orbital bone. Brook would once again get his orbital bone broken but this time at the hands of Errol Spence Jr the following year.
Much like Khan, Brook hasn’t looked the same in wins over Michael Zerafa and Siarhei Rabchanka. It’s safe to say that both fighters have seen better days.
Now that a match between the two is being worked out, the question that must be asked is, does anyone care to see it?
Although it would still draw some interest from the public, the expiration date on this fight has passed. If it does actually take place, the winner of this contest would prove absolutely nothing. They are both past their prime and the matchup doesn’t bring as much buzz as it once would have.
If the fight happens, then so be it, but this is a fight that should have happened a long time ago. Now, no one really cares.
By: Shane Willoughby
Earlier this week Eddie Hearn spoke about having once last throw of the dice in an attempt to make Kell Brook vs Amir Khan. But let’s all be honest there is more chance Chris Eubank Sr fighting Nigel Benn for the 3rd time.
The fight isn’t happening. So what does that mean for Kell Brook? He is one of the only credible fighters in the sport who hasn’t boxed this year.
Since his defeat to Errol Spence, Brook has fought bellow par opposition and hasn’t had any big fights. At one stage after moving to super welterweight, it looked as if he was chasing a fight with at the time, IBF champion Jarrett Hurd as he worked himself into a number position.
Then when he was set as the mandatory challenger for the American and Hurd expressed his desire to make that fight, Kell Brook turned the fight down to chase Amir Khan.
Whilst many fight fans were optimistic, thinking they finally will see Brook and Khan square off, it was obvious that it was all smoke and mirrors.
So Brook turned down an opportunity to fight for a world title, to fight no one. It’s very obvious Brook is looking for a cash-out fight. A massive payday to say farewell to the sport.
His attitude outside of the ring is well documented; blowing up in weight in between fights. He obviously doesn’t intend to stick around for much longer.
Once the inevitable happens and Hearn says the famous words Brook vs Khan isn’t happening. What then? Kell brook will retire.
There were talks that Brook was chasing Terence Crawford but with Crawford set to face his mandatory at the end of this year that fight isn’t on the table.
A year of inactivity for any athlete isn’t good, especially one that doesn’t particularly look after his weight when he isn’t in camp. Without a big fight, Kell Brooks days as a professional fighter are numbered.
By: Ste Rowen
Where did it all suddenly go wrong for Kell Brook?
The former IBF welterweight world champion was set to fight on the undercard of Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr last weekend, but the issues with Kell’s career have been obvious for a while now, and been going on much longer than his most recent pull out, which would’ve been Kell’s first appearance in the US since his points victory over Shawn Porter to claim the aforementioned IBF strap back in 2014. Almost five years ago, how has this been allowed to happen?
Looking back now, it seems that, that was the peak bout boxing fans were treated to of a ‘prime’ Brook, but since then, overmatched opponents, underwhelming wins, and brave but ultimately dominating defeats have followed. A man who was on the verge of creeping into the pound-for-pound list, has faded into obscurity.
If a reporter writes about Kell Brook without mentioning Amir Khan, does it make a sound?
A big reason for Kell’s demise seems to revolve around Bolton’s finest. Khan was an Olympic silver medallist, Brook only achieved domestic success at amateur level; when Khan fought and lost to Canelo, Brook signed on to fight and inevitably lose to Golovkin. Compare Brooks bouts as a champion, Amir has fought a murderer’s row of challengers. Yet the two have constantly been at each other and every single interview they do, questions about the other man are brought up.
Even promoter, Eddie Hearn has, on multiple occasions promised Brook/Khan would be made, even going to the effort of signing Khan to Matchroom which gave fans false hope that the domestic showdown was inevitable. But of course, boxing did what boxing does and made us wait, and wait… and wait. Even if the two former world champions keep calling each other out, it’s not happening and if by some miracle the two sides agree to terms and sign to fight, it will be a match up at least five years too late.
And so, on to the current day. ‘Special K’ was due to fight on the undercard of Joshua/Ruiz Jr but reportedly dropped out due to not being able to secure a good enough opponent. Add to the fact that he hasn’t fought since December in a disappointing unanimous decision win over Michael Zerafa and it’s been an extremely frustrating year for the Sheffield native.
An ankle injury in mid-2018 and the split from long time trainer Dominic Ingle, apparently due to Ingle’s other stable commitments, mean that things have snowballed into the current situation, which is… Well what is it? Kell is neither retired nor active. It could be argued that his last significant victory was almost five years ago in that crowning decision win over Shawn Porter. A tremendous night for Brook and British boxing but, what since?
After defeat to Errol Spence in May 2017 the former IBF welterweight champion vowed to make the jump to junior middleweight and challenge Jermell Charlo and then champion, Jarrett Hurd. Instead fans were treated to a two-round destruction of Sergey Rabchenko – an understandable first bout in a new division – but the Rabchenko win was followed by nine months of wondering and then what can only be described as, a ‘stinker’ of a victory over twelve rounds against the aforementioned, Zerafa under new trainer John Fewkes.
Recently a lot of the talk from Kell’s camp has been either about Khan or a rematch with Spence, this is despite fans being constantly told how hard Brook worked to boil himself down to 147lb. The propaganda regarding Kell’s weight would only make sense if he was making waves and worrying the Americans at 154lb, but he’s not.
In the same time that Brook has lost his IBF welterweight strap, made the jump to junior-middle and suddenly vanished, Jarrett Hurd has unified the 154 division, defended his belts once, and then lost them. All in the space of eleven months. Jermell Charlo in that same space of time KO’d rising star, Erickson Lubin within one round, made the third defence of his WBC title against Austin Trout and then was surprisingly defeated via decision to Tony Harrison last December.
Brook, Hurd and Charlo have all lost, but which fighters remain the more relevant?
And that’s where the ‘Special One’ find himself now, lost in no man’s land of being unable to draw the biggest welterweights to him, and unwilling to take on the best of the best at 154lb.
If if he really did want titles at junior middle, his chance has gone as Tony Harrison is locked in to a rematch with Jermell Charlo, and it appears newly crowned WBA and IBF champ, Julian Williams is also secured for a rematch with Jarrett Hurd.
The only other title holder at 154 is Jaime Munguia who, after the Mexican’s controversial majority decision victory over Dennis Hogan, appears to be Brook’s best chance to become a two-weight world champion, but is the ambition even there anymore for the Sheffield native? And would it matter if it was?
In reality, for Brook to cement some sort of winning legacy it all comes back to Amir Khan.
However much hardcores and casuals alike say it’s passed its sell-by-date, you know for sure that if it happens, they’ll tune in. I only need to look in the mirror and see my own hypocrisy to admit that it’s years too late, but I would still tune in for Brook/Khan.
In the end, the following two things are not mutually exclusive; Brook can be enormously proud of the professional career he has accumulated, whilst also ultimately being extremely disappointed by the resume he ‘might’ leave behind.
By: Waqas Ali
Former two-time world champion Amir ‘King’ Khan is on the loop hole for a potential clash with either American Terence Crawford or domestic rival Kell Brook.
Khan, 32, who last fought back in September against Samuel Vargas, has opted the probable option of going for Crawford more than Brook.
Crawford, whose record stands at 34 victories and zero defeats is a three-weight world titlist and has had two wins in the welterweight division already.
The same division Khan (33-4) has been fighting in for the past four and half years.
Speaking to Express Sport in early December, he stated: “We’ve negotiated a lot at the moment and we are close to getting it done.
“But there are other fights out there at the moment, like pound-for-pound champions, that is on the table for me.
“And I think that’s a fight which might never, ever come in my lifetime again. The pound-for-pound title is back in the welterweight division.
“It’s Crawford. Crawford has the pound-for-pound title and I’ve got that fight right in front of me, so I want to take that one. It’s either that or the Kell Brook fight.”
Both fighters are virtuous stylistics fighters but the questions that need to be asked are: Who would be the bigger draw and who is the bigger threat?
With Crawford, 31, aka ‘Bud’ he has a reach of 74” and a height of five feet 8 inches with a knockout ratio of 74%.
In his last 10 bouts, eight of them were KO/TKOs.
Crawford’s boxing style consist of speed, power and footwork. He uses those assets very well including loading up his combinations and keeping the distance at long range.
He also switches stances every now to provide activity on both angles of conventional and southpaw.
His resume of competitive competition include Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Raymundo Beltran, Viktor Postol, Julius Indongo, and Jeff Horn.
Only fought once outside the United States, when defeating Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight title in March 2014 in the UK.
Brook, 32, has a record of 38 wins and two losses. His reach stands at 69 inches and with a height of five foot nine.
The Pride of Sheffield’s style contains speed, agility and balance. His level of competition include Lovemore Ndou, Vyacheslav Senchenko & Shawn Porter. All three he won against.
Two high levelled competition he did lose to were Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr.
With Porter however it was quite competitive and to Brook’s credit he utilised his jab well in order to keep the fight at distance and countered effectively.. Brook landed 158 of 441 punches – 36% connect rate.
After losing to Spence Jr at the welterweight division, Brook decided to move to junior middleweight where he felt was the right decision.
With a recent win over Michael Zefara, it raised the question of Brooks’ capability and style of wonder in the 154 weight division.
No doubt in anyone’s mind particularly the British fans, selecting Brook would be a huge pay-per-view draw. It could possibly land in one of the biggest domestics bouts in history.
Britain is no stranger when it comes to historical domestic clashes.
Michael Watson vs Nigel Benn
Chris Eubank vs Michael Watson 1 & 2
Chris Eubank vs Nigel Benn 1 & 2.
Chris Eubank vs Carl Thompson 1 & 2
Frank Bruno vs Lennox Lewis
Just to name a few.
Eddie Hearn, Brooks’ promoter, made it public that he had offered Khan £8m flat fee, plus an upside of the revenue to fight Brook.
The offer was made a week after Top Rank offered Khan £3.9m [$5 million] to face Crawford.
So by analysing the evidence upfront it would make sense to make the Brook fight happen. However with Crawford, Khan could potentially win the WBO belt from Crawford should the bout take place.
Therefore it is my belief that the Crawford is dubbed and rightfully should be as the bigger threat than Brook.
Crawford has more tools of weaponry against Brook and Khan, who has been down numerous times in his career.
Should Khan win, it would place him back in the spotlight of elite, considering the fact that Khan hasn’t won a title since early 2012 when the WBA awarded him the junior welterweight after Lamont Peterson tested positive for a banned substance.
By: Michael Kane
Kell Brook got another win in front of his hometown fans in Sheffield however it was a lacklustre performance.
Brook dominated throughout the fight and won an unanimous decision, 118-110, 119-109 and 117-111 in a final eliminator for the WBA Super Welterweight world title.
Afterwards, Brook admitted himself that he had been flat, with new trainer John Fewkes adding he thought he had boxed well and to keep his chin up.
All week, in the lead up to this fight, the talk had been that the proposed Brook v Amir Khan fight was looking like it was not taking place, as rumours suggest Khan may in fact face Terence Crawford. There may have been an element that Brook had taken his eye off his opponent and was too busy looking to the future.
Brook started the fight looking sharp, landing jabs and landing right hooks. The Australian, Michael Zerafa was starting to get bloodied up somewhat and an early stoppage was on the card.
As the fight went on, Zerafa was still standing and started landing some shots of his own. In the 5th despite Brook still being on the front foot, Zerafa landed several big right hands.
The rest of the fight would play out in similar fashion, Brook going forward catching Zerafa but the Australian continuing to land his right hand. Zerafa’s best rounds came in the 8th and 9th. Zerafa had Brook against the ropes in the 9th landing with an unanswered 5 shot salvo.
It was now evident the fight was going to points, with Brook clearly off the pace.
Brook is hoping for big fights to come however he will have to step up his performance to have any chance of competing for a world title again. Brook wants Khan next and if the fight isn’t made next then it’s unlikely to ever be made.
In the chief support fight, Dublin’s Jono Carroll faced Frenchman Guillaume Frenois in an IBF final eliminator bout.
With the winner expected to face IBF champ, Tevin Farner, next year it now looks like a replay will be on the card between the pair after the fight was scored a draw, 115-113, 113-115 and 114-114. The draw being a fair result.
The fight was close throughout, Carroll always walking forward, with Frenois counter attacking and both landing good shots. Carroll took the better of the earky rounds with Frenois the better in the later rounds.
Both fighters raised their hands at the end, with the Frenchman and his team looking the more upset at the draw result.
Highly rated Josh Kelly was supposed to take on his biggest fight to date, by facing former WBA Regular champion, David Avanesyan. However Kelly pulled out due to illness. The fight is due to be rescheduled.
Kell Brook beat Michael Zerafa on points.
Jono Carroll and Guillaume Frenois drew.
Josh Kelly v David Avanesyan cancelled
Anthony Fowler beat Jose Carlos Paz in round 1.
Kid Galahad beat Brayan Mairena on points.
Qias Ashfaq beat Jay Carney in round 5.
Callum Hancock beat Ivan Nikolov on points.
Terri Harper beat Feriche Mashauri in round 2.
Anthony Tomlinson beat Innocent Anyanwu in round 5.
By: Ste Rowen
Will they? Won’t they? Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan. It’s a question that’s been lingering on for so long that maybe the answer these days is, who cares?
But, although the wait for Brook/Khan is more Ricky Hatton vs. Junior Witter than Mayweather/Pacquiao, there are those, not just called Hearn, that want to see the two British fighters get it on.
Unfortunately for them, this weekend at Sheffield Arena ‘Special K’ will not be fighting Amir but instead takes on 25-2 (14KOs) Michael ‘Pretty Boy’ Zerafa.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Kell made sure he got in a dig at ‘King Khan’, as well as talk up future bouts,
‘‘Amir Khan is a con man, they should call him Amir ‘Con’. He’s mugged you off Eddie.
Now 37-2 (26KOs), Saturday night is setup as Kell’s Sheffield swansong before aiming for the legacy fights that will abolish the memory of stoppage losses to Errol Spence and Gennady Golovkin.
He may have proved in his stoppage victory over Sergey Rabchenko back in March, that he’s got the ability to matchup with the 154lb fringe contenders but the chasm between the junior middleweight fringe and the junior middleweight champions is huge. From WBA & IBF champion, Jarrett Hurd, to WBC titlist, Jermell Charlo; Kell’s best chance of becoming a two-weight world champion, if that it is his ultimate aim before retiring, will come against WBO belt-holder, 22-year-old Jaime Munguia whose star continues to quickly rise having fought five times in 2018, two of those being world title defences.
Although Saturday night’s fight and his comeback fight in March are at 154lb, Brook told the press that he’s still capable of making welterweight,
‘‘I could weigh in at 147 tomorrow, I’ve got that buzz again…Shaun Porter’s got that WBC title. I would love to bring back Errol Spence in the summer and get the win cos I’m an animal.’’
But before he can think of world titles or domestic super-fights in 2019, ‘Special K’ must display the heavy handedness, and confidence that helped him dispatch with Rabchenko. That night in March, Brook got over his previous two eye injuries sustained against Golovkin and Spence in consecutive bouts. The drop off in quality of his opponent was obvious but Kell countered and put together combinations superbly, bullying the Belarussian for just less than 270 seconds before the referee brought Kell’s successful injury-comeback fight to an end.
‘‘If you roll back twelve months ago, I’d probably give myself twelve months before I hung them up, but I feel reborn. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and I am so happy…No disrespect to him (Zerafa) I’ve no interest in what he’s gonna do. I’m 100% and there’s not gonna be no man that can deal with me…I’m looking to put up a serious performance.
‘Pretty Boy’ Zerafa of Australia is most likely known for his action-packed but ultimately, knockout loss to Peter Quillin up at middleweight – his one other defeat coming to a rising Arif Magomadov. Currently on an 8-fight win streak, Saturday will be a serious step up in quality for the man who hasn’t won when he’s stepped outside of Australia,
‘‘It’s a huge opportunity for me and the team. We know it’s gonna be a hard fight, but we’ve come prepared…No stone’s been left unturned. He’s just a name, there’s gonna be fireworks.’’
If Zerafa does spring the upset at the weekend, the chances of Brook vs. Khan at [Insert any English soccer stadium] drops even further down to the status of ‘Slim to none’ and Slim probably left town a couple of years ago.
Jono Carroll vs. Guillame Francois
Fighting in what will surely be the bout that solidifies his status as IBF super-bantamweight champion, Tevin Farmer’s mandatory, Jono Carroll of Ireland takes on experienced Frenchman, Guillame Frencois., who’s last defeat came over five years ago.
Last seen picking shots at Declan Geraghty in June, southpaw, Carroll, 16-0 (3KOs) may have what Eddie Hearn called ‘the greatest beard in world boxing’, but the bearded man recognises how close he is to the dream of fighting for world championship belts,
‘‘I wanna show Tevin Farmer, ‘little peanut head’, I’m gonna eat him alive when his time comes…Frenois is a banana skin. If I don’t win on Saturday night, then there is no Tevin Farmer. Trust me I will be performing on Saturday night.’’
That night in Belfast against Geraghty, Jono dominated most of the nine rounds before ultimately forcing the referee into stopping the fight due to the volume with which Carroll was landing, and the ‘Celtic Warrior’ is ready for the same style of fight if needs must on Saturday,
‘‘I don’t work so hard in the gym, blood, sweat and tears to just fight journeymen…This Frenchman is very experienced, and I hope he is ready for a war because us Irish love to go to war and I’m ready for anything.’’
Also a southpaw, Guillame Frencois has fought almost the entirety of his pro career in his home country of France, and usually up against very limited opposition. His record of 46-1 (12KOs) looks impressive but ‘L’Expert’ has rarely fought a recognised name and, in his most significant bout for the EBU European strap, was defeated via unanimous decision to a then, 33-1 Devis Boschiero.
Despite this, Frencois has taken his preparations seriously and is ready just as much as Carroll to make it a battle,
‘‘I’m very pleased to be here in Sheffield, great place for boxing. I was determined to take my chance when the IBF ordered this eliminator and after a two-month camp I’m ready to win…You may know the Irish warrior, but you will know the French warrior on Saturday.’’
Josh Kelly vs. David Avenesyan
Former Olympian, Josh Kelly continues his accelerated rise in the pro ranks with a scheduled 10-round matchup with former WBA ‘regular’ challenger, David Avenesyan.
‘Pretty Boy’ Kelly, 8-0 (6KOs) will be fighting for the fourth time in 2018 and overcame his biggest challenge to date in his first fight of the year when he decisioned the experienced, Carlos Molina on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker. However, the Sunderland native acknowledges that he needs that step up to really prove his talent,
‘‘I need someone to really come and try and take my head off. When I get in the ring people wanna take my head off because I look like this arrogant guy, but I’ve got a switch. I’m not the same guy I am in the ring…Four weeks since the last fight and I’m just feeling relaxed.’’
David Avenesyan, 23-3-1 (11KOs) is undoubtedly the biggest obstacle his British opponent has come up against so far as a pro, but the Russian native has lost two of his last four bouts, fighting just four times in the past 2 ½ years – including a 12-round decision over a faded Shane Mosley.
Avenesyan kept his press conference contribution short and simple,
‘‘This is a big fight for me…I like this fight, I want this fight, I’m hungry. David right now is ready for this fight.’’
By Jake Donovan
From the moment news leaked of a proposed opportunity to face unbeaten welterweight titlist Terence Crawford next March, many in the industry lauded Amir Khan for his career-long willingness to take on all comers.
However, you can count Kell Brook among the few not quite impressed with the Brit’s in-ring pursuits—and for several good reasons.
In a story first broken by the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, Khan revealed that plans for his next superfight wouldn’t be that of a long awaited showdown with longtime in-country rival Brook but a trip to New York’s Madison Square Garden to face the reigning pound-for-pound king in Crawford. The news stings in more ways than one, as it came at the start of fight week for Brook, who faces Michael Zerefa this Saturday at home in Sheffield, England.
The show lands on Khan’s 32nd birthday, which promoter Eddie Hearn hoped to help the former 140-pound titlist celebrate with the reveal of a superfight with Brook finally occurring in 2019. However, Khan—while still considering the lucrative offer from Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum—instantly spoiled those plans with a doubly stinging announcement of his own, that he won’t be in attendance and is more likely to head back to the United States for his next fight.
“Fighting for a pound-for-pound title would be amazing,” Khan (33-4, 20KOs) told the Daily Mail on Monday of his desire to face Crawford over Brook. “To win it would be even better, so I think I’m in a position where I can get that fight with the pound-for-pound champion.
“The Brook fight is always going to be there. It’s for no title, whereas I’m getting offered a world title and the pound-for-pound title. So why not?”
His countryman is more than happy to explain.
“It’s not [going to be there],” Brook (37-2, 26KOs) insisted in a recent interview with BBC Sport. “I am going to go after the big names in America and the fights all the fans want. I am going to do my thing. I don’t need him at all.”
The offer on the table for Khan is reportedly a $5 million guarantee, with incentives as a showdown with Crawford—if finalized—would land on Pay-Per-View as distributed by ESPN. It would also mark a return to the site of Khan’s stateside debut, as his first U.S fight came in a May ’10 stoppage win over Paul Malignaggi at MSG Theatre (now the Hulu Theatre).
Khan has fought 10 times overall in the U.S., his last trip abroad coming in a 6th round knockout loss to middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their May ’16 155-pound catchweight bout. He returned to the ring this past April, having won a pair of tune-up bouts atop shows promoted by Hearn with whom he joined forces earlier this year.
Their partnership was designed to lead to an eventual collision with Brook, but piecing together such an event has proven problematic, to say the least. The loss to Alvarez undoubtedly still resonates with Khan, who has demanded a rehydration clause be in place for a clash with Brook, a former welterweight titlist who is now campaigning in the super welterweight division.
Brook agreed to come down to welterweight for such a fight, but thus far has refused to commit to a rehydration cap. Khan has demanded a second-day weigh-in where neither boxer can gain more than 10 pounds from the contracted weight, whereas Brook’s position is that his coming down to the 147-pound limit is already a major concession.
It appeared as if both sides would find common ground in order to deliver good news this weekend. However, a window of opportunity for Khan to look elsewhere came when it was revealed by BoxingScene.com’s Keith Idec that Crawford’s reported March 23 MSG headliner versus Luis Collazo wasn’t quite finalized.
Collazo—a former welterweight titlist whom Khan dominated in a May ’14 clash in Las Vegas—had long ago agreed to terms to make the short trek from Brooklyn to MSG. Crawford and his team, on the other hand, had been vocal in demands for bigger fights, and seemed convinced that something better was out there.
Such desire prompted Top Rank—who’d previously sought the services of former two-division titlist Danny Garcia for Crawford—to go after Khan, who seemingly has no problem walking away from a far more lucrative grudge match with Brook.
Should he agree to terms to face Crawford, it could be his last guaranteed big fight.
“I would like to have announced our fight in the ring and give fans an early Christmas present,” revealed Brook, who seeks his second win following a welterweight title reign-ending knockout loss to Errol Spence last May. “But it does not look like it will happen. It looks like he has run off again.
“I have done everything in my powers for it to happen. It is him who has let the public down. (But) it’s not the end of the world and I will move on. I am more established at welterweight being world champion. I will be hunting these guys and the weight above at light middleweight.”
By: Michael Kane
There are widespread reports that Manny Pacquiao has signed with Al Haymon, leading to a fight with Adrian Broner before a potential re match with Floyd Mayweather.
According to a SPIN.ph source, said to be a member of Pacquiao’s inner circle, a fight with Broner is expected in the second week of January.
This news has set in motion a chain of events in the UK, where Amir Khan had been hoping to face Pacquiao.
It now would appear that a long awaited fight between Amir Khan and Kell Brook is in the works.
Former IBF welterweight champion Brook has had his eye on Khan for a while, however until now Khan has never shown too much interest.
Eddie Hearn, Khan and Brook’s promoter told SKY Sports , “It’s the first time where we’ve probably actively negotiated and it has never happened before.
“Probably in five years trying to make this fight we’ve never been at a stage where we are actually going back and forth with information, planning fates, and things like that.
“There is a long way to go, but I do believe now that both guys have got it in their head that the fight will happen in February or March next year.
“Kell will probably box in Sheffield on December 8. He hasn’t boxed since March Amir obviously just boxed and I am hopeful and excited that this fight, that has eluded us for so long, could be close to happening.”
It’s been suggested by Khan that Brook has agreed to a 10 pound rehydration clause however Hearn said thats not been agreed as yet.
Brook is the current WBC Silver Super Welterweight Champion and has faced Gennady Golovkin at middleweight.
“Kell would like to fight at 150 lbs but Amir has got a point: ‘ I am a welterweight, if you want this fight, come to my weight’ and Kell can make 147.” Said Hearn.
“He’s already in camp and has been for a long time because he knows he can’t afford to make any mistakes if he’s going to make 147.
“He can make it, there is talk of a rehydration clause but nothing is confirmed on that.
“It’s not going to be easy, both guys are going to want their advantages going into this fight, but I just want to get it made.
“When those two come face to face and we announce that fight it’s going to be a very special moment for British Boxing, so fingers crossed we can get it over the line.”
By: Oliver McManus
Amir Khan and Kell Brook have had a long running, well-documented, rivalry with the “super-fight” being touted as “never being closer” on numerous occasions throughout the last five years and, indeed, despite that looking like the truth when Amir Khan and Kell Brook had a, tentative, face-off in the ring following the conclusion of Khan’s comeback in April, the likelihood of the bout taking place in the immediate future has since dwindled.
Here we take a look at the potential options for both Khan and Brook before discussing whether or not a meeting between the two can legitimately lay claim to the title “super-fight” –
On the basis that the pair don’t face each other next then the immediate option being bandied around is Manny Pacquiao with Khan being the front-runner for such a bout, to take place in America, and you get the feeling that, despite his performance against Matthyssse, this would be a matchmaking art-form.
A big fight in America and a big fight in the United Kingdom, we know that Eddie Hearn has been in talks with Pac Man to fight on DAZN so there’s definite potential for the fight and, let’s not forget, that the pair were supposed to fight on April 23rd last year, in the United Arab Emirates, before the bout got called off, supposedly due to a lack of funds.
With a world title to his name, the latest in a seemingly endless conveyor belt, there’s added spice to this bout with, for Khan, arguably the easiest route straight back to a world title and, dare we say it, a legacy defining bout for both boxers with an opportunity for Pacquiao to prove he’s not “over the hill” and Khan getting one MONSTEROUS name on his CV.
Hold up, hold up, let’s not get ahead of ourselves though because the fight with Pacquiao is a fight that Kell Brook wants as well and we’ve seen, over the course of history, that Brook is a guy with absolutely no fear heaving stepped up in weight to face Golovkin before taking on Errol Spence Jr, he lost on both occasions but the performances were stock-raising, nothing to be sniffed at, and he proved his heart and guts.
We know that he has the boxing ability to cause serious problems at the highest level and, indeed, packs some serious power as evident from his, most pertinently, sixth round TKO over Frankie Gavin but, equally, in his two round demolition jobs of Kevin Bizier and Siarhei Rabchanka – admittedly not the greatest quality opposition but you can only deal with what’s in front of you and Kell is consistently convincing.
A fight between Amir Khan or Kell Brook and Manny Pacquiao is, truth be told, one of the only realistic bouts featuring the Filipino that gets me excited and I don’t really care which one of the Brits gets the shot but I want to see one of them in there.
BRING IT ON!
If we turn our attentions to the Sheffield superstar then, on paper, he has more, realistically, winnable options for a world title and that’s not just because he’s able to fight at 147 and 154 – the title holders at super welterweight are have more of an air of vincibility than those at welter.
Jaime Munguia, as heavy and explosive as he is, should be no match for the maturity and experience of Kell Brook and, whilst I confess this all hypothetical, there is then the scope for genuine showdowns with the likes of Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo.
Brook looks a more complete article at super-welterweight, as well, he looks naturally healthier and has significantly more energy, able to fight at a higher tempo and, rather obviously, packs that heavier artillery which enables him to really double-down and get the business done.
That’s not to say he’s not a threat at 147 because he, undoubtedly, is but it just seems to me that it’s about time in his career where he stops squeezing himself down to the lower weight and, indeed, Eddie Hearn has said that it takes him 16 weeks to get there so when all of that is taken into account it seems only logical that he remains at super welter for the long term because, yes, whilst this would probably rule him out of a couple of the bigger fights he would stand a far healthier chance of an extended career with, to his credit, huge clashes to be had with a trio of, simply, sublime Americans.
Amir Khan seems belligerent in adjusting weight, refusing the potential for a 150lb catch-weight fight with his longest rival which is shrewd on his part for maximising his natural advantages but does also allow the doubt in to creep in as to whether the fight will actually happen.
Looking further into the future then and there are plenty of tasty fights – Pacquiao and Brook, aside – that Khan could be involved with and this is where his time in America comes in handy because promoters over there want to have him on their shows, networks want him on TV and he’s very easy to market.
Danny Garcia is a man that Khan has publically said he wants to face, claiming he was “unfocussed” in their original clash back in 2012 – in which Khan was dropped on three occasions as the bout came to a swift conclusion in the fourth round – and it’s a fight that has appeal for both parties with, frankly, Garcia not quite the hot-shot that he formerly was and Khan is a route back into the headlines.
Having made a blistering return against, admittedly over-matched, Phil Lo Greco, Amir Khan didn’t prove anything new over the course of those forty seconds but he did show that he’s not lost any of his killer instinct, the ability to pounce on a subject as soon as a weakness is shown, and, boy oh boy, does he still have that hand speed.
So, we move until the bigger question on the horizon, is Amir Khan vs Kell Brook or, for that matter, Kell Brook vs Amir Khan still a) relevant and b) a mega-fight?
Let’s deal with “a” first and, to be brief, yes it is still relevant and it will continue to be relevant for as long as the two protagonists continue to target each other and whilst their still active in the sport because, make no mistake, there will always be an appetite to see the two of them square off in the ring purely because of the history, the deep rooted nature of this rivalry, and everyone wants to know, who ACTUALLY is the best?
Is it still a mega-fight? Well that depends who you are, it is certainly a big encounter and would be made even bigger if one of them were to capture a world title before such a showdown, it’s a stadium fight but it’s a fight that would have been way, way bigger in 2014. People will watch, of course they will, but the excitement won’t be as red-hot as it once was and it will almost be more of a sigh of relief if it were to happen as opposed to a never-ending crescendo of excitement.
Is it relevant in terms of the world scene? Well that’s a separate question and that particular relevance has been like a ticking time bomb over the past five years and there’s a nagging suspicion, from me, that we won’t see this bout until after there is any serious consequence. I could be wrong, mind.
I hope I am.
By: Ste Rowen
In Sheffield, on Saturday night Kell Brook impressively marked his return to the ring since May 2017, by making light work of Belarussian, Sergey Rabchenko, stopping him in the second round.
Kell stepped on the gas from the first round, looking to take the centre of the ring and, whilst Rabchenko seemed game, the Sheffield native was clearly the superior boxer. With 1:52 left of the second round, Brook landed a beautiful right-hand uppercut, visibly shaking his opponent which set up the finisher, as Kell followed up with another big right hand, sending Sergey to the canvas, and keeping him there for the count.
So, the former IBF welterweight champion moves to 37-2 (26KOs), speaking to Sky Sports post-fight, Kell seemed more determined than ever to state his claim as one of Britain’s best, and without naming names, Brook made a call out to the rest of the 154lb division,
‘You thought you got rid of me. I’m putting everyone on notice. I’m the terminator and I’ll be back… Another win. I’m putting everyone on notice, I’m here to stay.’
Jermell Charlo called out Brook via Twitter on Friday as a possible June opponent, but there was no mention of the WBC champion after Brooks return to winning ways, the focus, from promoter Eddie Hearn, seemed to solely be on setting up a fight with fellow Brit, Amir Khan,
‘There aren’t the big names in the division at 154lb, well guess what? There is now… Kell Brook has passed the test. Amir Khan has got to pass the test April 21st, Kell will be ringside for that as well.’
‘Kell wants to fight in June. Back to the gym on Monday. Let’s get busy, let’s make up for lost time.’
Arguably fight of the night, on an underwhelming undercard, was Gavin McDonnell’s unanimous decision victory over Gamal Yafai. Gamal, was unbeaten (14-0) going into the bout but as the rounds drew on, experience was king as McDonnell, now 19-1 (5KOs), began to dominate after the early rounds and there was no question over who had won when the final bell went.
McDonnell, whose only defeat came at the hands of WBC super-bantamweight champion, Rey Vargas, seemed ready again to talk about challenging at the top level of his division,
‘If I was to lose tonight it would have killed me. I knew my career was on the line…I just want big fights and as long as I’m moving in the right direction, a world title will come.’
Hoping to avenge his May 2017 defeat to Lenroy Thomas, and fighting in running shoes, Dave Allen left the Sheffield Arena disappointed after an accidental clash of heads in the first round put an end to the rematch. Allen was stalking the Commonwealth champion early when, with 44 seconds left of the first round, the two butted heads as Thomas landed an uppercut. The referee immediately called a timeout as the blood came pouring from a deep cut above the ‘Doncaster De La Hoya’s’ right eye, and minutes later put an end to the bout, calling a technical draw.
One of the early bouts of the card saw super middleweight, Rocky Fielding, 26-1 (14KOs) dominate Czech journeyman, Karel Horejsek over 8 rounds. Post-fight Eddie Hearn revealed that Fielding, most likely due to his first-round stoppage of David Brophy in September, had managed to manoeuvre his way up the rankings and into a shot at WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez,
‘We’ve been in talks this week. It looks like it will take place in June, we’re just working on the deal now, it’s quite close…The matchup would likely take place stateside and as long as the deal is right, we will accept the fight.’
By: Ste Rowen
This Saturday night, Kell Brook makes his return to the ring for the first time since his 11th round stoppage loss to Errol Spence in May last year. A punishing encounter that broke his left eye socket, lost him his belt and forced Brook into questioning whether it was worth carrying on.
‘People are right to question what I’ve got left and how I am going to be after the injuries and defeats. I know that I’ve got a lot left in me. I believe I am going to be the same fighter, I’ll be better with the bigger weight which will bring the best out of me.’
The Sheffield native was forced into taking in a knee in front of his home fans in the Spence bout but he’s back in Sheffield again, this time at Sheffield Arena, to make his first steps in the heavily stacked with talent, 154lb division and regain the momentum and perhaps respect he lost in defeat.
Brook’s first tilt at junior middleweight sees him come up against 29-2 (22KOs) Sergey Rabchenko. The Belarussian fought just once in 2017, stopping fellow countryman and journeyman Sergey Krapshyla. The combined record of Rabchenko’s last four victories is 51-59-5 (27KOs).
On his opponent, ‘Special K’ had his promoter’s hat on,
‘He’s a very good fighter, very clever. He has only got two losses, like myself…He’s naturally strong and powerful, and he goes to the head and body good. He uses the ring, he’s a very clever fighter.’
‘If anyone had not done anything right at the top level, they would get beat by this guy, because this guy is no joke.’
It’s not exactly the acid test some fans were hoping for but some leeway may have to be given for a man who in his previous two bouts suffered fractured sockets in both his left and right eyes, not to mention it being his first fight in a new division.
With the WBC ‘Silver’ junior middleweight belt being on the line, a win could propel the victor into a mandatory shot, unfortunately for Saturday night’s winner, the current 154lb WBC champion is the unbeaten, huge hitting and fellow Errol Spence gym-mate, Jermell Charlo, set to fight in June against an, as yet unnamed opponent.
But Kell’s new division is full of exciting fighters including match ups with contenders such as, Julian Williams and Erickson Lubin, recently knocked out in the first round by Charlo; or a domestic shootout with Liam Smith and of course, the never-ending speculation of a fight with Amir Khan. Another fight with the other champions can’t be overlooked, though WBA holder, Erislandy Lara and IBF champion, Jarrett Hurd face off against one another next month, a fight later this year even with the loser would be a great barometer of where Kell is at and how far he can go to reach the summit at 154.
Saturday night’s card in Sheffield also features some interesting matchups.
Gamal Yafai, brother of Super Flyweight champion, Kal, takes on 18-1-2 (5KOs), Gavin McDonnell. Gamal, 14-0 (7KOs) is currently on a 3-fight knockout streak with his biggest win to date coming in May last year when he stopped then unbeaten, Sean Davis in seven to claim the WBC international super-bantamweight title. McDonnell is two fights removed from his comprehensive loss to WBC super-bantamweight champion, Rey Vargas.
Fans favourite, Dave Allen will be looking to put old demons to bed and avenge his 3rd professional loss when he rematches Lenroy Thomas for the heavyweight commonwealth title. Allen and Thomas fought a close but ugly encounter on the Brook/Spence undercard last year which saw the Jamaican take the split decision victory. The ‘White Rhino’ now 12-3-1 (9KOs), is under no illusions about how significant this fight is for the trajectory of the rest of his career,
‘Mental preparation I think is key now, for a man like myself. Physically I’m there, so yeah, I’ve got to live the life in fight week, because I’ve thrown good performances away on fight week by doing stupid things.’
‘My message to Eddie Hearn is, when I beat Lenroy Thomas in fantastic fashion, which I will do, we’re going to have to sit down and make big plans.’