The latest interview from Eddie Hearn makes for interesting reading. If Dillian Whyte (22-1, 16KOs) and Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20KOs) are both successful in their fights against Lucas Browne (25-0, 22KOs) and Joseph Parker (24-0, 18KOs) respectively we could see a big summer time card in the States.
I can see the two Londoners traveling to the other side of the pond to take on Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39KOs) and Jarrell Miller (20-0-1, 18KOs) The UK’s number 1 and 2 vs American’s 1 & 2.
Could we see Wilder-Whyte and Joshua-Miller all on the same card in August with the winners fighting each other at the end of the year?
I am reading in-between the lines here and it’s all if’s and but’s at the moment but there is no doubt in my mind that it would make good business sense to get the top heavyweights all on the same card. I mean let’s face it boxing isn’t just a sport it’s a big business to.
The reason behind my theory comes from a statement made by Eddie Hearn in his latest interview.
When asked about AJ fighting Wilder the Matchroom promoter said, “I would like him [Whyte] to fight Wilder. I think that if we [Joshua] didn’t fight Wilder next and we had our August fight, then we could do Dillian against Wilder. Everybody wants to see AJ versus Wilder, it’s difficult, but I would like to see Dillian get a shot at the world title before he fights AJ.”
With Whyte currently the No.1 contender for the WBC strap and if he gets past Australian Lucas Browne then Wilder will almost have his hand forced.
It is no secret that American Jarrell Miller is being lined up as a potential opponent for the unified champion so he can showcase his skills on an American network. So why not get all four on the same card in the US and promote the event as a UK vs USA rivalry?
Of course the two Brits will need to get past undefeated heavy’s Parker and Browne. Both fighters must not be overlooked as they both have the ability to cause an upset.
Eddie Hearn has been in the business for far too long to know that nothing is a guarantee, especially when it comes to the heavyweight division.
When asked about the up and coming fight between Whyte-Browne Hearn said, “It’s a really big fight for the division and the winner – Wilder and AJ are looking at this fight and saying – the winner is a million per cent on my radar.”
“This for me is the most important fight, and the best fight outside of the championship fights. The winner is going to be No 1 in the WBC, because Dillian already is. He’s going to be top five in every governing body and you’re there.”
There is of course still the potential of Joshua-Whyte 2. The WBA, IBF and IBO title holder has always expressed his desire to fight Whyte again. After his victory he was quick to say that it’s only 1-1 after the Brixton fighter beat him in the amateurs.
“All AJ talks about is fighting Dillian Whyte again, because he seems to really want to do that.” said Hearn. “But of course Lucas Browne is a former world champion who is undefeated, so if he beats Dillian, all of a sudden he’s a major player.”
“I know that Joshua will fight Dillian Whyte again. I think if you asked him and said ‘Tell me one fight in the division you want?’ He could say Dillian Whyte, because he loved it, and he feels as though he wasn’t his best, because he lost his rag a little bit.”
Hearn continued, “But he’s improved so much and he loves having a tear-up, and he knows Dillian will give him a tear-up.”
“He loves the build-up. He wants people to go at him at the pressers, AJ. But they seem to lose their bark a little bit when they’re in front of him.”
A lot will depend on what happens in the next couple of weeks. Whoever wins out of Whyte and Browne will become he No.1 challenger for Deontay Wilders WBC title.
If Joshua beats Parker then contenders ‘Baby’ Miller or the winner of Alexander Povetkin (33-1,23KOs) and David Price (22-4, 18KOs) will be next. But if Parker wins then there will be a rematch in August.
Whatever happens I will be watching with keen interest along with the rest of the boxing faithful. I’m just pleased to see the heavyweight division back in top form!
Liam Smith (26-1-1, 14KOs) has fought his way back to become the the No.1 contender for the WBO 154lb title after three consecutive victories.
The Liverpudlian will attemp to recapture the WBO title against current champion Sadam Ali (26-1, 14KOs). The bout will take place at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y on May 12 and will be aired on HBO and although not yet confirmed I am sure the fight will also be available to the British public on BoxNation.
This will be the first defence of Sadam Ali’s WBO light-middleweight strap since his upset victory over future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto last year.
“It felt great to accomplish my dream of becoming world champion. I’m excited to defend my title and to demonstrate that it is not up for grabs. Liam Smith is a great fighter and I’m sure he’ll be ready, but so will I.” Said the former US Olympican.
Smith lost his title in 2016 against Saul Canelo Álvarez but has recovered well with two hard fought wins over Welshman Liam Williams.
“I’m very happy that we’ve got this fight. I’m looking forward to pitting myself against a good fighter in Sadam Ali, a former Olympian and now world champion who is coming off the back of a good win against Miguel Cotto. I’m confident going into this fight. I know I’m naturally the bigger man, and that will come into play, especially in the type of fight that I think it will be.”
The 29-year-old from Brooklyn, NY is currently being guided by Golden Boy Promotions and their CEO Óscar De La Hoya said;
“Sadam Ali climbed onto the world championship stage with one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he snatched the WBO junior-middleweight world title from four-division, six-time world champion, and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden. Being in the ring with a hungry fighter with a world championship belt on his resume like Liam Smith will be nothing new to Ali. Sadam will prove yet again he’s someone to watch out for in the division.”
On the other hand, Liam Smith’s promoter Frank Warren is backing his fighter to retain the title, he said;
“This is Liam’s chance to reclaim his world title. He’s come through two hard fights against Liam Williams to earn his shot, and he’s done what he set out to do. When he lost his belt against Canelo Alvarez, Liam said he would be a world champion again, and on May 12 he will deliver on that promise.”
The 154lb division is starting to get interesting with the emergence of Kell Brook who I am sure will be taking a keen interest. If Smith is successful I can see the 29-year-old making a first defence in an all English dust-up later this year.
British heavyweight Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce (2-0, 2KOs) is back in action against Donnie Palmer (9-1-1, 8KOs) on Saturday night live on territorial television.
The Olympic silver medallist is returning to the Mecca of British boxing York Hall, fresh from his first round knockout victory against Rudolf Jozic only last month.
Hayemaker-Ringstar are keeping the Londoner busy in hope that he can rise through the British ranks quickly.
The 32-year old is currently ranked at number 12 in the UK and 158 in the world. Considering he has only had 2 professional fights he has already mustered up 9 rounds of boxing and has a combined opponent record of 16-4-1.
Heavyweights today are huge but there will not be many fighters that will tower over Joyce who stands at 6’ 6”. But this Saturday night he gives away a 4 inch advantage against his American opponent who stands at a staggering 6’ 10”.
With only 11 fights to his name in 6 years Palmer has boxed 33 rounds and is ranked at 247 in the world. The most notable victory on his résumé came against Arthur Saribekian in his one and only 10 rounder which ended in a second round knockout victory.
To be perfectly honest this is nothing more than a stay-active fight for Joyce who should win comfortably before moving onto a bigger challenge in May.
If all goes to plan at York Hall then the aim is to have Joyce back in the ring on the Haye-Bellew 2 undercard. The main target is British number 3 Derrick Chisora (27-8, 19KOs) which clearly signals his desire to become an early contender in a rejuvenated heavyweight division.
Although there have been grumbles from the Chisora camp that he is willing to take the fight but only if the money is right, this is by no means a dead-cert. If this match-up fails to materialise then there is another option in Scotsman Gary Cornish (25-2, 13KOs) who would be a perfect replacement and one that would test the ‘Juggernaut’ this early in his professional career.
With Dave Allen (12-3-2, 9KOs) likely to face Lenroy Thomas for the commonwealth title, Nick Webb (12-0, 10KOs) scheduled to fight on the Whyte-Browne undercard and British champion Sam Sexton (24-3, 9KOs) defending his title against Hughie Fury (20-1, 10KOs), Cornish would be a good choice.
Sexton picked up the British title after defeating Cornish last year and Joyce was quick to throw his hat in the mix after stopping Ian Lewison on his pro debut. “I watched the recent fight, against Cornish, I thought I could take both of them. We’ll see if that fight gets made for December,” Joe Said.
Either way a victory over ‘Del Boy’ or Gary Cornish would catapult the Londoner into contention for a shot at either title. I believe Chisora is the more dangerous opponent, you need to look no further than the Whyte fight as proof of this.
With that being said Joyce is still eager to get it on, he said “I’m waiting to see if that comes to fruition, if he accepts the offer. If he has the real desire to fight me. I think it’d be a real entertaining one, especially when he fought Dillian, it’ll be something similar. I think it’ll be a great fight anyway. Chisora will be game and swinging bombs. He’s a busy fighter.”
Chisora, 34, has accepted an offer to fight on the undercard of Whyte-Browne on March 24 against an unknown opponent. I assume this will be a tune-up fight before he re-enters the ring in May. Joyce does have stiff competition from Carlos Takam who has built up a rivalry with Chisora on social media so don’t be surprised if you see the 37-year old in action instead of Joyce.
You may be wondering what the fascination is with fighting ‘Del Boy’? Well, he is currently the third best heavyweight in the UK, has a history of selling fights with his Larry Large attitude and a victory over him would not only increase your reputation but it would improve your ranking.
Promoter David Haye definitely has the finances to trump the Takam camp but Chisora may prefer his chances against Takam who has enhanced his rep after a decent performance against Anthony Joshua.
Further down the line Joe will have to face one of the up and coming youngsters in the division. The dangerous Daniel Dubois (7-0, 7KOs) and Nathan Gorman (12-0, 10KOs). Both are heavyweight prospects that will be rising through the ranks at the same time and heading for a collision course with Joyce.
Firstly the well decorated amateur will need to get past Donnie Palmer and then assess his options for May.
On the undercard Matty Askin (22-3-1, 14KOs) puts his British cruiserweight title on the line against Stephen Simmons (18-2, 7KOs).
Enjoy the fights this Weekend!
After surrendering any chance of winning the WBO featherweight title on the scales Scott Quigg (34-2-2, 25KOs) managed to restore a bit of credibility in his defeat to Óscar Valdez (24-0, 19KOs).
The 29-year old came in a disappointing 2.8lbs over weight when he hit the scales 24 hours before his scheduled bout which was totally disrespectful to his opponent and very unprofessional.
With that being said it was very uncharacteristic of Quigg who has been a credit to the sport and has always carried himself in a professional manor throughout his whole career so far. I have followed the Bury lad for a large chunk of his career and I can categorically say that this has never happened before.
The excuse was that he had a fractured foot so he was unable to do as much road work as he would have liked in the lead up to the fight.
Huge credit has to go to Óscar Valdez for still taking the fight even though his team where advising him not to. Not only did the Mexican put in a dominant display and fully deserve his victory but he also pushed through the pain barrier with a broken jaw.
All three judges scored in favour of Valdez with two scoring the same 117-111 and the other 118-110. Although you can not argue the result or the scorecards it doesn’t quite reflect how the fight went as a whole. There were a lot of close rounds in an action packed fight that both fighters should take a lot of credit for.
The 27-year old Mexican has now established himself as one of the leading men in the featherweight division. Let’s hope he can recover quick enough to fight again this year as I will certainly look forward to seeing him in action again.
So what is the next step for Scott Quigg? There is no doubt he hasn’t damaged his career too much after a solid performance in his defeat. With the featherweight division littered with talent there are still plenty of possibilities.
Lee Selby (26-1, 9KOs) puts his IBF title on the line against a game opponent in Josh Warrington (26-0, 6KOs) on May 19 at Elland Road Football Ground, Leeds, England. With the winner being tipped to face UK number one seed Carl Frampton (24-1, 14KOs) later in the year so maybe Quigg can make a case to face the loser?
In my opinion Scott Quigg is one of the best featherweights in Britain but unfortunately for him Frampton and Selby have that little bit more quality. I believe the Welshman will come through his challenge against Warrington to set up an intriguing battle with Frampton, as long as the Irishman is also successful against veteran Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24KOs)
If I am correct then Warrigton against Quigg would be a good domestic dust-up that will generate a lot of attention.
There is also the possibility of a fight against dangerous youngster Kid Galahad (24-0, 15KOs). This would be risky because defeat could stall Quigg’s career even further. Especially as the talented Sheffield-based fighter has all the ingredients to emerge as the best in Britain if he continues to fulfill his potential.
Promising young fighter Reece Bellotti (12-0, 11KOs) is another option but one that seeks no rewards for a top ten world ranked fighter like Quigg.
Alternatively he could move in a completely different direction and look to push a fight with the exciting WBC number one contender Joseph Diaz Jr (26-0, 15KOs). The American is another one of those young bucks coming through that is a contender to the thrown. A long shot maybe but certainly not off the table.
World number one and WBA super champion Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19KOs) puts his strap on the line against fellow Mexican Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15KOs). This is a rematch that will determine who is the best in Mexico. The winner should be looking at a unification match with the talented Óscar Valdez.
I think the second instalment between these two will probably end up the same as before with Santa Cruz winning by a majority decision. So a fight with 32-year old Mares could be the more inviting route back into another world title shot?
Still plenty in the locker
There are several options for Scott Quigg so it’s not the end of the world by any means for the likeable lad from Bury.
He will need to give himself time to recover from his broken nose and black eyes. Then reassess where his camp went wrong for the Valdez fight. One thing is for sure Quigg will continue to devote his life to boxing like he has always done while continuing to push the very best in what ever division he competes in.
Scott Quigg (34-1-2, 25KOs) attempts to become a 2-weight division world champion on Saturday night against WBO featherweight holder Óscar Valdez (23-0, 19KOs) at the StubHub Centre, Carson, California USA.
The 29-year old will need to be at the top of his game if he is to snatch the title from the dangerous Mexican.
Both fighters are ranked as the third best in their counties with Quigg just behind Carl Frampton and Lee Selby and Óscar Valdez behind world number one Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.
The featherweight division is littered with excellent talent with a majority of the top fighters coming from the UK and Mexico. In fact there is only one fighter that features in the top 8 that doesn’t reside from those shores and that is American Gary Russell Jr.
Quigg who comes from Bury, a small town in Greater Manchester will be the main event on his American debut. It will be a new experience but one that I believe he will take in his stride.
With 37 pro fights under his belt, 186 rounds fought and a knockout ratio of 68% plus a combined opponent record of 551-248-43 the Brit should be well equipped for the challenge ahead.
The challenger has an orthodox stance and stands at 5’ 8” which is just over 2 inches taller than his opponent and has a 3 inch reach advantage. Although I doubt his reach will come into play as Quigg is not the sort of fighter to jab his way to victory.
The champion Óscar Valdez has had 23 bouts, fought 111 rounds and has a 83% knockout ratio. His combined opponents total reads 338-100-20 and has held the WBO featherweight strap since 2016.
This is a step up in class for the Mexican who is being branded as the future star of the featherweight division. But chosing Quigg as his mandatory defence could well be a mistake.
This fight has all the makings of a potential fight of the year. Valdez is known for his all-out-aggression and Quigg has a tendency to throw caution to the wind and have an all out war.
I am expecting an epic battle between two fighters that are eager to impress in a strong division. I do think Scott Quigg’s experience will give him the edge. We have seen a different animal since the Carl Frampton defeat and one that will not leave any stone unturned.
My expectation is that both fighters will touch the canvas at some point but the Englishman will show the American viewers a solid chin and upset the apple cart with a late knockout victory.
In another intriguing matchup on the undercard we have up and coming super-featherweight Erick De Leon (17-0, 10KOs) facing undefeated Andy Vences (20-0, 12KOs).
In the welterweight division Mike Reed (23-1, 12KOs) is hoping to get back to winning ways after defeat in his last fight is up against American Arnold Barboza Jr (17-0, 6KOs).
Enjoy the fights all
Josh Taylor (12-0, 11KOs) remains undefeated after making light work of Winston Campos (30-4-5, 18KOs) in front of the Glasgow faithful on Saturday night. But what next for Taylor and how far can he go?
The Scotsman sits at number 2 in the British rankings just behind Manchester-based fighter Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13KOs) who takes on the undefeated American Maurice Hooker (20-0-3, 16KOs) on April 14 at the O2 Arena in London for the vacant WBO super-lightweight title. ‘Turbo’ Terry was the WBO lightweight champion until he vacated his title last year to step up into the 140lbs division.
Even though Josh Taylor has only had 12 professional fights he has been dispatching strong opponents already which is why there is already talks of a possible world title shot. For me the first step should be to try and dethrone fellow southpaw Flanagan and become the number 1 fighter in Britain before challenging for world titles.
A fight between Taylor and Flanagan would be huge, not only in the north of England and Scotland but in the UK as a whole. Taylor has a massive Scotish following and Flanagan has a decent fan base so you can just imagine the atmosphere.
Sounds great in hindsight but the boxing game is a little more complicated when it comes to negotiating fights, especially when two different promoters and television companies are involved.
With all that being said it is still very early doors for the 27-year old but I can see why there is an urgeny to push him through quickly because he clearly has a lot of ability. I believe he should continue to pick off the fighters above him in the world rankings to established himself as the number one contender.
The division is wide open especially with undisputed super-lightweight champion Terrence Crawford (32-0, 23KOs) out of the picture and now competing in the 147lb glamour division. Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30KOs) is the next big name but he has already indicated that he will also move up to 147lbs. That is of course after he attemps to become a 4-weight division champion against IBF holder Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10KOs) on Saturday night.
One fighter that I am certain the Tartan Tornado would love to fight is Ricky Burns conqueror Julius Indongo (22-1, 11KOs). The Namibian outclassed Burns in front of the Scotish faithful so I’m sure they would love to see Taylor seek revenge for that defeat. Indongo is in action for the first time since his defeat to Crawford against undefeated Regis Prograis on March 9.
Also in action on Saturday night is another undefeated fighter Rances Barthelemy (26-0, 13KOs) of Cuba who takes on Kiryl Relikh (21-2, 19KOs) at the Freeman Coliseum in Texas, US for the vacant WBA strap. I do think the Belarusian will just fall short again like in their first encounter but he would be the perfect opponent for someone like Taylor who is on the rise.
Opponents like a Relikh, Ukrainian Viktor Postol (29-1, 12KOs) or Frenchman Mohamed Mimoune (20-2, 2KOs) would be challenging enough for Taylor right now. These are the type of fights that will set him up nicely for the massive ones in the future.
There are plenty of other solid opponents within the 140lb division that could cause Taylor problems with so many scrambling for a title shot. Englishmen Jack Catterall (19-0, 10KOs) would be a good domestic dust up or maybe Russian Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24KOs) his only defeat came against Indongo.
Two more undefeated fighters are Sweden’s Anthony Yigit (21-0, 7KOs) and Antonio Orozo (26-0, 17KOs) of Mexico. The list goes on but one thing is it sure if Josh Taylor can continue to make waves at this point in his career then he could well end up with a title shot quicker than expected.
I don’t think any fighter in this division sells tickets or brings a fan base quite like Taylor does. If you add his talent to that then this kid has all he ingredients to go right to the very top.
Kell Brook (37-2, 26KOs) returned to the ring with a second round knockout over Sergey Rabchenko (29-3, 22KOs) in his super-welterweight debut.
The Sheffield-based fighter was clearly overjoyed with his knockout victory but more importantly he came through unscathed, although the Belarusian was unable to provide any real test.
The jubilant 31-year old couldn’t hide his excitement after his empathetic victory adding: “You thought you had got rid of me. I am the Terminator and I am back now. I am here to stay. I love the sport.”
Brook was then asked if he would rather drop back down to 147lbs to fight Amir Khan or fight for a world title at 154lbs. Brook said:
“Forget about the weight. It’d be Khan.”
“It’d be a lot harder to get him signed than a world title fight.”
“Everyone wants to see that fight. We’ve got the money and the promo stuff, so why can’t we make that happen? We need to sit down, talk about weight and need to make that fight.”
Khan-Brook: Will it ever happen?
With Amir Khan (31-4, 19KOs) now signed with Matchroom and his comeback fight scheduled for April 21 against Phil Lo Greco (28-3, 15KOs) surely this fight has more chance of happening then ever before?
As long as Khan can get past his opponent without picking up any injuries then this fight should be signed and ready for the end of 2018? Personally I doubt it will happen this year and I can’t help but think that would be down the Khan more than Brook.
The 31-year old from Bolton seems to have a very high standard of himself but he has to realise that since his time away from the ring ‘The Special One’ has taken on two of the most feared fighters in boxing.
Not only did Brook give Triple G and Spence Jr tough fights but he suffered two serious injuries which could have ended his career. Credit and respect must be shown to Brook as not many fighters in the business today would have the balls to come back from that.
Lets hope Brook-Khan can finally be signed and delivered.
On the undercard in Sheffield Gavin McDonnell (19-1-2, 5KOs) defeated up and coming Gamal Yafai (14-1, 7KOs) in what was an exciting fight in the super-bantamweight division.
The British number 1 proved to be too experienced for his younger opponent and showed just why he is able to mix it with the world’s best in his division.
After a very bright start from Yafai in the first round he was unable to deal with the constant pressure from McDonnell after that. The 26-year old was trying to throw too many power punches and neglected his jab.
Fatigue started to set in from about round 6 when he was caught with a right hand from McDonnell that seemed to knock the Brummie off balance.
From that point the fight went only one way and that was in favour of the 31-year old from Doncaster.
All three judges scored in favour of McDonnell; 117-113 and 116-112 twice, I had it 117-111.
Dave Allen suffered a bad cut over his right eye after a clash of heads in the opening round with opponent Lenroy Thomas. The fight was stopped and awarded a technical draw.
Also on the undercard in the featherweight division Kid Galahad (24-0, 15KOs) knocked out Irving Berry in the third round with a devastating left hand that floored the man from Panama out cold.
Once the fight was waved off by the referee medical staff were quickly in the ring to attend to Berry who thankfully left the ring on his feet.
After the fight Galahad who is also apart of the Ingle gym called out the winner of Selby-Warrington.
On Saturday night hot prospect Josh Taylor (11-0, 10KOs) takes on decent late replacement Winston Campos (30-3-5, 18KOs) at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland live on terrestrial television.
Super-lightweight Taylor was due to fight the more experienced Humberto Soto but unfortunately the Mexican picked up an injury leading up to the fight so Campos has stepped in as a late replacement.
The Tartan Tornado as Taylor likes to be called is a southpaw that is ranked second behind only Terry Flanagan in the British rankings, has had 11 fights, fought 44 rounds and has a 91% KO ratio. The 27-year old has a combined opponent record of 158-64-14 and is currently on the back end of two impressive victories over Ohara Davies who was undefeated at the time and Miguel Vazquez (39-5).
His opponent has had 38 fights and fought 176 rounds with a knockout ratio of 47%. The 25 year-old is also a southpaw and has not lost since 2013 against Ismeal Barroso but he has not fought more than 8 rounds since then. I believe this will be the Nicaraguan’s downfall and this is where Taylor will expose his challenger.
I expect the Scotsman to slowly dismantle Campos seeking an early opening for the quick stoppage but I think he will need to be patient so I am going for a highlight reel knockout in rounds 9 or 10.
The WBC Silver super-lightweight champion Taylor said:
“This is a harder fight than my original opponent.”
”He comes to fight more, he’s taller and it looks like he punches quite hard as well.”
”Obviously, I had nearly a full camp preparing for a different fighter in Humberto Soto, but I feel confident that I’ll be able to adapt to Winston Campos.”
”He’s taller, he’s a southpaw and he’s dangerous, but I’m feeling great and there’s only one winner. It might take me a couple of rounds to adjust to his style, but I think the stoppage will come.”
“I know that Josh Taylor is a good fighter, but I have fought better guys than him. I will look to hunt him down from the first bell.”
“I want him to know that he is in for a fight.”
”Let’s hope Josh wants to fight too and we can give the fans a war. I feel strong, I feel aggressive and I think that belt is going back with me to Nicaragua.”
On the under-card we have female lightweight Chantelle Cameron (5-0, 4KOs) against Myriam Dellal (15-7-3, 2KOs) along with up and coming lightweight Charlie Flynn (10-0-1, 1KO) who takes on Ryan Collins (13-2-1, 2KOs).
Enjoy the fights all
Kell Brook (36-2, 25KOs) makes his return to the ring on Saturday night after a 9 month lay-off against Sergey Rabchenko (29-2, 22KOs) at the Sheffield Arena.
This will be the first time that Brook has fought at super-welterweight after defeats to Gennady Golovkin at middleweight and Errol Spence Jr at welterweight, where in both fights in suffered fractured eye sockets.
It was inevitable that the ‘Special One’ would make the jump into the super-welterweight division after losing his IBF welterweight title last year in front of the Sheffield faithful at Bramall Lane. After ballooning up to 160 lbs to fight Triple G in 2016 and then back down to 147 lbs to defend his IBF strap a year later against Spence, I think the 154 lb division is the perfect fit for Brook.
The 31-year old will hope he can rise through the ranks quickly enough to get another world title shot. There is no reason why the Sheffield-based fighter can’t pick up a world title this year and then go on to unify the division. All of the current world champions; Sadam Ali, Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo & Erislandy Lara are all beatable especially for someone as good as Brook.
The journey starts against a solid super-welterweight in Sergey Rabchenko who at 32-years of age has had 31 fights, fought 142 rounds and has a 71% knockout ratio. The Minsk-based challenger stands at 5’10” a one inch height advantage over Brook and has fought as a super-welterweight his entire career. His combined opponent’s record is 432-306-23 but he didn’t really fight anyone significant until his 15th professional fight against Martin Concepcion who he stopped in two rounds.
I believe Rabchenko’s most impressive performances came in 2012 against Ryan Rhodes who he stopped in the seventh round and Cedric Vitu who he beat by split decision. Both fights were sandwiched between two unanimous decisions over Bradley Pryce but in 2014 he suffered his first defeat against Anthony Mundine. After a couple of comeback fights he lost for the second time against American Tony Harrison but this time the Belarusian was knocked out in round 9.
Once again Sergey has had a couple of comeback victories but unfortunately for him I can only see another knockout loss against the more polished and accomplished fighter in Kell Brook.
The Brit has had 38 fights, fought 195 rounds and has a knockout ratio of 66%. Although his combined opponent record does not look as good as Rabchenko’s at 767-753-56, you have to remember he fought several tough journeymen in his first 16 professional fights.
Guys like Peter Buckley, Brian Coleman, Ernie Smith (x3), Leeroy Williamson, Karl Taylor, Geraint Harvey and David Kirk all gave Brook the most valuable experience any fighter could have. Those 7 fighters alone fought a combined total of 775 fights. If you take away the records of those journeymen, Brook’s combined opponent record reads 657-121-23 which then reflects the amount of quality fighters Brook fought in his next 22 bouts.
Brook went on to win the British welterweight title against Barrie Jones and defended the strap three times winning all by knockout. When he took the step up onto the international stage he was still dominant defeating contenders Michael Jennings, Luis Galarza, Matthew Hatton, Carson Jones (x2), Hector David Saldivia and Vyacheslav Senchenko.
Kell Brook won the IBF world welterweight title against Shawn Porter who was undefeated at the time and defended it three times before he lost it to Errol Spence Jr last year which was after his first defeat to Gennady Golovkin at middleweight.
Rabchenko is definitely the perfect comeback fight for Kell Brook in his debut fight at super-welterweight but I do think that excluding any injuries Brook should come through very comfortably against the Belarusian. I am going for a knockout victory for Brook and to look good doing it.
McDonnell v Yafai
On the undercard we have an intriguing domestic match-up between Gavin McDonnell (18-1-2, 5KOs) and Gamal Yafai (14-0, 7KOs) in the super-bantamweight division.
McDonnell is the more experienced fighter who at 31-years old has had 21 fights, fought 157 rounds and is ranked number 1 in Britain. The Doncaster-based fighter is taller than Gamal standing at 5’ 9.5” and has a combined opponent record of 247-203-14.
Yafai is 26-years old, has had 14 fights, fought 77 rounds, a KO ratio of 50% and a combined opponent record of 127-110-16. Gamal is ranked number three in Britain so this really is a domestic fight to keep a beady eye on.
McDonnell will bring relentless pressure throughout the fight but lacks punching power, Yafai will need to counter that pressure and push Gavin back onto his heels. I can see this being a very close fight but I am going for the youngster from Birmingham, Gamal Yafai to come through and win a split decision.
Rest of the fight card…
Also on the undercards Dave Allen (12-3-1, 9KOs) seeks revenge against Jamaican Lenroy Thomas (22-4, 10KOs) after his split decision loss in 2017. I think the White Rhino will come through this time on points.
Kid Galahad (23-0, 14KOs) has had five straight stoppages and I think that run will continue against opponent Irving Berry (23-7-2, 10KOs).
Enjoy the fights ladies and gents