Alan Dawson – London
In control from start to finish whilst displaying a disciplined approach, undefeated Briton Kell Brook boxed rings around Rafal Jackiewicz on Saturday, October 8 at the Ponds Forge Arena, Sheffield. Brook successfully defended his WBA Intercontinental welterweight championship in style, gaining a technical knockout victory in the sixth round in what is the first stoppage win ever secured over a tough Jackiewicz.
Judges verdict: N/a.
Highly-fancied Kell Brook took on another opponent similar to Lovemore N’Dou as Rafal Jackiewicz was just as durable and had a reputation behind him for being battle-hardened. Jackiewicz entered the ring to metal music, emotionless, while the screams of the Steel City crowd effectively drowned out those from the lead singer.
Brook entered the ring second. Normally known for his cheeky smile and his boundless swag, Brook walked to the squared circle with an air of calm, however, that was interrupted when he bounced over the top rope, flashed his million pound grin to his home fans and gave them a salute to much cheer.
Stylish and sharp, Brook began the fight with discipline as he sought to draw out punches from Jackiewicz that he could counter. Brook boasted good speed and timing in the opening stanza as he landed acute jabs and lunging rights over the top. Blessed with a fine welterweight frame, Brook was chiseled and looked good at the weight. His upper body movement was intuitive and he even showed subtle hints of shoulder rolling whenever Jackiewicz feinted.
In the second round, Brook sapped Jackiewicz’s confidence as he prevailed in the battle of jabbing authority… Brook, though, also had the upper hand when it came to angles, combination punching, speed of hand and foot, general movement, tempo, distance and ring generalship.
Technically savvy, there are few – if any – glaring flaws in Brook’s approach. In the third round, Brook began gliding around the edges of the ring as he goaded Jackiewicz into chasing him (and the fight). The Polish visitor, a well traveled fighter, showed his frustrations as he struggled to land on a defensively sound Brook.
Jackiewicz, though, landed a meaningful punch in the fourth – a right hook from the inside. In terms of damage, it was he who had accrued it – swellings over the eye and on the forehead – while Brook was largely unmarked. The more Jackiewicz attempted to raise his gloves to protect his head, the more he exposed his body and Brook took advantage of this by pushing jabs and cross shots into Rafal’s gut.
Jackiewicz became more flat flooted by the fifth yet Brook remained patient, unleashing a right tiger uppercut, shimmying his shoulders to open his opponent up, thumping head-bound double jabs and succeeding with overhand rights… there was just no let-up in Kell’s domination of what looked like an overmatched journeyman despite his status as a former world title challenger and European champion.
In the sixth, Brook upped the tempo somewhat, landing a solid body punch at the beginning of the round. An accurate puncher, Brook depleted more energy from Jackiewicz’s lungs with precise punches to the body before going back upstairs, bloodying Rafal’s nose slightly and inspiring more swelling over his opponent’s eye. A stiff straight right onto Jackiewicz’s head forced the referee to step in… the stoppage did seem early, but Brook was outboxing Rafal from start to finish with very few clean punches coming back.
Brook has now demonstrated a superiority over multiple opponents: from domestic fighters to international journeymen, European fighters and top ten ranked fighters who have mixed it with world champions. The man is ready for the next step… he’s no longer the prospect he’s been treated as since 2009 when he won the annual prize of Britain’s best young boxer, and surely a fight with welterweights such as Vyacheslav Senchenko, Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz, Paul Malignaggi or even Mike Jones have to be made for Brook to continue to enhance his profile as a serious force.
“I was enjoying myself, I didn’t get out of second gear,” Brook explained to Sky Sports after the fight. “I was stepping it up slowly but surely. His face was a bit of a mess and I took him apart with me jab. I hit him with good, clean shots and wobbled him slightly,” he said, before adding: “[Promoter] Eddie [Hearn] just gets me the opponents and I knock ‘em out basically.”
Hearn noted: “That was an unbelievable performance. [Jackiewicz was rated] seventh in The Ring magazine and he didn’t lay a glove on Kell.”
There had been much talk this week about future potential fights with current IBF welterweight world championship holder Andre Berto and unified WBA/IBF super lightweight world titlist Amir Khan when the Bolton boxer makes the inevitable trip up to welterweight.
“There are all kinds of fights at 147lbs for him,” said Hearn, head of boxing at Matchroom Sports. “We’ve been talking to Lou DiBella about matching him with Andre Berto and I wanted Brook out early tonight so we could get him on Carl Froch’s undercard in Atlantic City on December 17 [against Andre Ward].
“A 2012 fight with Amir Khan – he can make his excuses – but that’s a fight this country wants to and has to see.”
With the win, Brook is now 25-0-0, 17ko while Jackiewicz slumped to 38-10-1, 19ko.