Kell Brook’s next fight will be for the IBF World welterweight title after he took just three rounds to destroy Hector Saldivia in their final eliminator clash at the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield on Saturday night’s Betfair ‘This Is It’ bill.
Brook was challenged by his team, his fans and his critics to prove his new training regime had made his second half struggles against Carson Jones a one-time blip – and the Sheffield star passes the test with blistering skill and power.
The unbeaten 26 year old stepped into his groove in the opening round, and after hurting Saldivia early notably with a pair of jabs and a right hook, the Argentine puncher was on the deck after a stinging right uppercut.
A right hook early in the second round had Saldivia backed onto the ropes and underlined Brook as the boss in there. The visitor was badly marked up under the right eye and was wobbled again, and when he did try at the end of the second round to demonstrate some of the power that has seen him KO 32 of his 41 victims, Brook ate them up with ease, sensing he had his foe in trouble.
Brook was told by Dominic Ingle to go out in the third and work the jab and with just 20 seconds on the clock he delivered a perfectly time left jab to floor Saldivia and end the contest.
“I did all the hard work and was the best prepared I’ve ever been so I made it easy for myself,” said Brook. “The team have stepped me up every week to fight night and everything was planned to the smallest detail and in the dressing room I knew there was no doubt there because I would have to be beaten by a monster in there, and I didn’t even get started in truth.
“The uppercut in the first started it all off. I didn’t rush in and finish him as he was always going to be dangerous so it was best to just peck away at him. My left jabs are like right hands now and I stepped in on it as he came forward so the timing was perfect.
“I came into boxing to become a World champion and bring it back to Sheffield and I can taste that now.”
Ingle was delighted with the performance of his charge and said that he saw the shoots of the new Kell Brook growing in the 12-week training camp
“We always knew Kell had a performance like this in him,” said Ingle. “I’ve known him since he was nine and you need to set him challenges. He was a joy to work with in training and the Carson Jones fight was the best thing that could happen to him because he’s come out of it stronger and worked harder than ever and you saw that on Saturday.”
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn said the work to plan Brook’s World title fight will begin right away, with Devon Alexander beating Randall Bailey in New York just a few hours after the Sheffield man’s triumph.
“We’ll be putting pressure on to fight Alexander now and I don’t like Kell to be out of the ring for too long,” said Hearn. “He’s fought six times in 15 months. He’ll have a nice holiday now, and maybe another one at Christmas but I want him to be out again in February or March.
“Only fights with Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton would take precedence over a World title fight. But we’re in a great position now – we’re the mandatory challenger for the IBF title and that’s not going to go away, we’ve worked hard to get into this position and we want to exploit it and make the World title fight happen.”
Another Yorkshireman grabbed his chance for a World title on the undercard after Jamie McDonnell forced gutsy Nicaraguan Darwin Zamora to retire on his stool after eight entertaining rounds of their IBF World bantamweight title eliminator.
McDonnell was fighting for the first time since a two-round win in March but the Doncaster favourite showed no signs of rustiness as he systematically wore down Zamora, who put in a brave shift after taking the fight at late notice.
The 26 year old peppered the visitor with his full arsenal and after eight rounds of punishment with flashes of retaliation, Zamora’s corner pulled their man out of harms’ way, allowing McDonnell to land on the World scene.
“It is unbelievable, from where we have come, to have a World title shot,” said McDonnell. “We have won every single title; the English, British, Commonwealth and European and defended them all so we have the right to fight for the World title. It feels great. I want to step up, I know there are some World champions out there who are going to be ten times tougher, bigger, stronger, so it was a good test tonight.
“I was buzzing, I was confident and I didn’t have any nerves for this fight. When they announced that I have the right to fight for the World title I felt that I was there. To get the chance to fight for the world title is just massive and I am there now. Hopefully we will get the backing of all the country because we don’t have many with a World title. Kell and I have that chance now and we want everybody behind us. I will bring a World title back, definitely.
“[The World title will] probably be after Christmas. I will keep fit now and live the life of a World champion.”
Kenny Anderson’s career is firmly back on track after he stopped Robin Reid in the fifth round to win the vacant British super middleweight title. Reid frustrated the Scotsman for four rounds but was docked a point for low blows and that proved to be the catalyst for Anderson to step on the fifth, where he first forced Reid to take a knee from a right uppercut and pounced on the 41 year old former World champ to unleash a barrage that stopped the fight and moves Anderson back into the mix for bigger titles in a tasty domestic division.
“I am absolutely delighted, I feel blessed,” said Anderson. “To have finally achieved this after so many obstacles I just feel absolute jubilation. There is relief as well and now I feel that this is the start of something brilliant.
“The stoppage was inevitable. Maybe the referee could have given him a little bit longer. I am delighted and I am looking forward to seeing all my friends and family who have travelled from Scotland and Lancashire to see the fight, and I am looking forward to getting to show my kids the belt.
“Robin Reid is an absolute gentleman. It was an honour to step into the ring with somebody like that. I remember being a youngster, aspiring to be Robin Reid. I looked at him and the things I has done and to have got in the ring and boxed with him is a privilege because he is a special fighter and a prestigious super-middleweight. Britain has a great record at super middleweight. Robin is a part of that and I would like to think one day I will be a part of that as well.”
Kal Yafai received live exposure on Sky Sports in just his fourth pro fight and took full advantage, sending Halifax’s Scott Gladwin to the canvas three times in the opening round and against inside a minute of the second to stop the 5-1 prospect.
Yafai will be out again on the Carl Froch undercard where Hearn intends to step him up to eight round action and the Beijing 2008 Olympian is excited by the prospect of more rounds to prove himself.
“I have two more fights this year so I was happy to get him out of there,” said Yafai. “It’s all baby steps and I’m learning all the time. Scott really came and had a go, he came out again in the second round so respect to him for that but I don’t think there are many bantamweights in Britain that can handle the power I’ve got. I’m a strong bantamweight and I don’t struggle with the weight, and hopefully that will take me to the top.”
Another Team GB star Scotty Cardle will also be in his first eight round fight in Nottingham in November and he bagged another shut out win over tough Frenchman Karim Aliliche – moving to 7-0 in his seventh fight in six months.
Huddersfield’s former Prizefighter finalist Tyrone Nurse ticks over with an eight round win over Santos Medrano, towering Sheffield heavyweight David Howe improved to 8-1 taking every round of four against Paul Morris, and 20 year old Shafiq Asif moved to 5-0 with a solid points win over Billy Smith.