Alan Dawson – London
In a bout that contained two contrasting halves, Kell Brook survived a fight of the year nominee to land himself a potential shot at the IBF welterweight world title. On Saturday, June 7 at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Brook was punch perfect for six rounds yet seemed to have emptied his tank as Carson Jones came on strong in the latter half, mashed Kell’s nose up and made a strong case for the draw…
Official verdict: Brook by way of majority decision (116-113, 116-113, 114-114).
With the backing of a 10,000 strong reception in Yorkshire, Brook (28-0-0, 18ko) boxed perfectly in round one, rendering Jones’ output redundant as the American came forward in a one-paced manner which thus allowed Brook to move effortlessly around his opponent and pump two, three and four punch combinations into Carson’s frame. Jones (34-9-2, 24ko) entered the bout as the power puncher with the kayo threat but on first impressions it was The Special One who was able to penetrate Jones’ guard, rumble him with uppercuts and deft left hooks and generally make himself a nuisance.
In the subsequent rounds, Brook fought behind his jab and using the shot to introduce body shots and uppercuts. The Englishman also produced an extremely competent and tight defence, making Jones miss, which was not good for Carson as the visiting pugilist was not even active. At the end of the third round, Brook received raucous applause and noise from his numerous fans for his aggression, however, there were few shots that were clean as Jones diverted shots with his arms.
While Jones got his act together in the fourth, it was Brook who finished in the more commanding position as Carson’s enhanced work-rate allowed Kell to show off his slickness, his counter-punching ability and his shoulder-roll. While Jones concentrated on Brook’s midsection, the home fighter was more varied… and double-jabbed with precision. In the fifth round, Jones boxed more positively, yet this opened him up and Brook clubbed hooks around Jones’ guard, shook up the American’s foundations and genuinely hurt his man. Jones came back at Kell for what was left in the round, sticking Brook into the red corner but Kell’s defence troubled Carson as he struggled to land anything of significance.
Jones’ limitations were further exposed in round six. Carson’s guard was ineffectual as, when Brook teed off, he was easily able to separate Jones’ high guard and land – with aplomb – straight right punches into the mush, however, he lost round seven. Brook’s work-rate was on the wane, he fought in a fatigued fashion and Jones perturbed him from action, forcing Kell to resort to headlocking him with a left arm in order to dilute the inside tussle.
Brook’s sudden lack of interest in the fight worried his corner so much that head coach Dominic Ingle poured an ice bucket over his head prior to the eighth in order to wake his charge up, however, this did not produce the desired effect as Jones went on to bloody Brook’s nose and score a cut to the side of the eye. The famed power of the American fighter, one year Brook’s junior, was finally revealed as he battled Brook into corners and rocked his head back repeatedly yet Brook closed the round with a peach of a countering uppercut which demonstrated that he still had something to offer with four rounds remaining.
With a nose leaking profusely and with blood smeared all over his philtrum, Brook showed an aggression in the tenth that had disappeared from his game from rounds six to nine and he got the crowd back on his side by attacking Jones in a positive 20 seconds of action before backpedaling, countering with right hands but having to take punishment from Carson who battled back convincingly in the final 30 seconds of the session.
Brook’s attempts to switch to the southpaw stance did little to confuse Carson, who was able to see the portside jab coming and parry it with his high glove. Those half-hearted jabs were all Kell seemed to have in the penultimate round whilst Jones continued to torture Brook’s body. The Brit’s defence abandoned him further in the final stanza and Jones genuinely troubled and hurt Brook before the referee separated the pair. If the fight had another round to go, Jones could have secured a stoppage finish, however, after the 12 round distance, Brook eked out a narrow victory on points.
On The Beak – Admin
Welterweight contender Kell Brook has vowed to emulate stablemate Carl Froch after watching the Nottingham man become a three-time world champion last Saturday. Froch took just five rounds to destroy previously unbeaten IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute in front of a sold out Capital FM Arena and the show smashed Sky Sports viewing figures set by Brook when he fought Matthew Hatton in March.
Sheffield sensation Brook faces his toughest test yet when he meets IBF number three Carson Jones in a bout likely to be given official eliminator status by the governing body, and Brook says he has been inspired by The Cobra: “Carl’s performance last weekend was just out of this world,” said Brook. “Afterwards he said it was an all-or-nothing night so to go in there with that pressure and produce a performance like that is incredible.”
Brook was ringside with Matchroom Sports stablemates Darren Barker and Kal Yafai and joined the 9,500 fans in an outburst of joy as Froch followed flurries of punches in the third and fourth rounds to stop the Canadian after 65 seconds of the fifth: “When the referee stepped in to give the count, everyone thought the fight was all over and the noise was unbelievable,” said Brook.
“Carl is the best in Britain without any doubt and a great example to any young fighter. He is an absolute animal in training and totally professional in everything he does. He’s someone I really look up to and lean on ahead of my fights now we’re in the same team.”
On his date with Jones, Brook said: “I know the size of the task ahead of me on July 7 – he’s obviously totally confident of coming over here and beating me. But just look at what Carl did to Lucian. He said he was insulted that he thought he could come here and beat him and Carl put him in his place – I need to do exactly the same thing because the reward at the end will be a world title shot.”
Before the main event there is a stacked undercard led by two European title rematches as Gavin Rees defends his lightweight title against Derry Mathews and Kerry Hope defends the European middleweight title against Greg Proksa. One of Matchroom Sport’s newest signings Kal Yafai also makes his debut on the undercard.
Alan Dawson – London
Kell Brook extended his undefeated record in front of his own fans at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield as the 25-year-old boxed in a manner that – like it did throughout 2011 – lived up to his Special K moniker, not allowing opponent Matthew Hatton any say in the contest, knocking his Mancunian rival down in the ninth and out-boxing Hatton throughout the entire 12 rounds on Saturday, March 17.
Official verdict: Brook by way of unanimous decision.
Occupying the centre of the ring, Brook boxed tentatively while Hatton got his jab going, unleashed two-punch flurries and fought in circles. Midway through the opening stanza, however, Brook began to take the initiative and, instead of blocking Brook’s lead punches with his high guard, he attempted to catch the shots which allowed Brook to punch through Hatton’s gloves… a worrying flaw for a fighter normally known for his defensive expertise.
In round two, Brook further aggravated Hatton’s bloody nose with big-time overhand rights. A thinking man’s fighter, Brook waited for his openings, punched with accuracy and denied Hatton passage to a clean shot himself. There was little magic cast by Matthew in round three as he was unable to pull the trigger. Brook stalked Hatton, set the pace and restricted his opponent to the outer circle of the ring, who only managed to land one meaningful punch for the entire stanza – a right hand over the top.
When Special K made his ring walk, he was accompanied by former world champion Junior Witter, an alumnus of the Wincobank gym where Kell is trained by Dominic Ingle and, like Witter, Brook was able to switch between orthodox and southpaw to further confuse Hatton.
In the fifth, Hatton began to unload… he double-jabbed, and let go of the right hand, roughing Brook up on the inside, he clinched and landed uppercuts. A master of range, Brook, though, was able to sneak back into the distance Hatton would not be able to find flesh from, before stepping back in to pump straight rights into the away fighter’s nose.
Through the middle rounds there was little Hatton could do to prevent Brook finding the side of his jaw with left hooks, his temple with looping left hands, his chin with right uppercuts and the bridge of his nose with orthodox jabs. When Hatton refused to allow Brook dictate the distance the fight was fought at, he scored well, particularly when he sent close-range shots into Brook’s ribs from the inside and boxed his way out of clinches.
Brook upped the power in round nine and made a strong statement by canvassing Hatton with a counter punch from the left. Brook fist-bumped the air, celebrating the knockdown in a scene British fight fans were not used to as Hatton had gone 12 rounds with super welterweight Saul Alvarez whilst remaining turgid. The punch, though, was testament to Brook’s timing and his ability to knock any opponent off-balance.
The image of each fighter prior to the commencement of combat in the 11th told the story of the fight… Hatton’s nose was stained in blood and he was breathing heavy out of his mouth. Brook, in contrast, was composed, breathing through his nose and looked calm and relaxed.
A wild ruckus broke out in the 12th as Hatton attempted hail Mary punches that had little effect against the defensively-intuitive Brook, while Kell, too, sought to load up on power and gain a second knockdown. That never arrived, but with the completion of the 12-rounder, a comfortable distance victory did. Brook out-landed Hatton by an astonishing 3:1 ratio, extended his career record to 27-0-0, 18ko and shone in front of 10,000 fans in Yorkshire.
Alan Dawson – London
Grzegorz Proksa‘s tenure as EBU middleweight champion lasted just one fight as unfancied challenger Kerry Hope out-hustled the previously undefeated Pole at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield on Saturday, March 17. Proksa established an early lead but suffered a ghastly cut that changed the nature of the bout, allowed Hope to stamp an authority on the contest and cruise to victory in a closely-competitive, highly-entertaining war.
Official verdict: 114-114, 112-115, 113-114 to Hope.
An England-based Polish southpaw of diminutive height but great sporting stature, Grzegorz Proksa elevated himself to the pinnacle of the European middleweight charts by retiring world-ranked Sebastian Sylvester in October and, versus Kerry Hope in Yorkshire, he once again displayed his aesthetically-pleasing boxing style. He showed good upper body movement, exquisite foot placement and generally confounded the Welsh challenger with his shoulder shimmy, his gun-slinging nature by shooting from the hip and, when he loaded up on his punches, the only hope Kerry had was by surname only.
By round three, Proksa had established an authority with his body-punching, however, a worrying cut had opened up on the 27-year-old’s brow following what the referee had deemed an accidental head-clash with Hope. The cut was so angry that it perturbed Proksa and Hope began peppering the wound with jabs thrown from portside. Any ascendancy Hope had from his third round advantage was beaten back down in the fourth as Proksa approached him from all angles and rattled Hope’s frame with a barrage of mighty blows.
In the fifth, Hope stepped up a gear and forced Proksa into a corner. The reigning European king, though, was punched precisely and, while Hope appeared the greater jabber, it was Proksa’s shots that were doing the greater damage. In a contest that was proving to be filled with see-saw action, the pendulum swung back into Hope’s favour as, despite taking shots flush, he pressed forth and put Proksa under unaccustomed pressure, making the Pole wilt through a dedicated headhunting tactic which exploited the champion’s non-existent guard.
With blood splattered over his brow and cheek at the end of the seventh, Proksa had relinquished control and momentum to Hope. All too often Proksa was failing to land with his left hand which allowed Hope to find his own way through with clubbing right hooks. In round eight, the uppercut – which had been a reliable weapon for the title-holder in the preceding rounds – remained a useful punch when Proksa was backed into the ropes, yet Hope roused the crowd and will have attracted admiring glances from ringside with his left hand and his work-rate.
It was testament to Hope’s chin that he was able to withstand Proksa’s power, particularly the left straight coupled with the right hook yet Kerry was, at the beginning of the ninth, docked a point by Phil Edwards; the third man in the ring, for rubbing his sweaty head into Proksa’s laceration.
Proksa’s work-rate had lagged significantly by the championship rounds and the one thing that had kept Grzegorz in the contest was the ninth round sanction. The end of the 11th, though, in keeping with the power struggle, saw Proksa finish well, yet it was not enough to convince his corner who implored the Polish pugilist to secure a last gasp knockout.
In the final round, Proksa tagged Hope with one-two combinations, slugs thrown with bad intentions and tortuous uppercuts launched from knee level. With half his face caked in blood, Proksa dipped and ducked under what Hope fired back, yet the champion secured what could be a crucial final round.
Hope landed close to 800 punches, showing he was a far busier fighter than Proksa, however, it was Grzegorz who outlanded the Welshman. The judges at ringside favoured the work-rate of the challenger, who entered the bout as a huge underdog yet left the Motorpoint Arena with the EBU belt wrapped around his waist.
With the win, Hope moved to 17-3-0, 1ko while Proksa suffered his first defeat and fell to 26-1-0, 19ko.
On The Beak – Admin
Britain’s two top welterweight pugilists fight for domestic supremacy in a high-profile clash dubbed War of the Roses on Saturday, March 17 as stylish Sheffield boxer-puncher Kell Brook (26-0-0, 18ko) puts his undefeated record on the line against defensively-savvy Matthew Hatton (46-5-2, 16ko) at the Motorpoint Arena, an arena in his hometown that is expected to entertain over 10,000 fans come fight night. Below, they can be seen preparing for battle…
(Videos embedded above and below credit – YouTube, MatchroomBoxing)
Tommy Barber – London
A fighter as famous for his skills inside the ring as he is his problems outside of it, Frankie Gavin returned to the squared circle after a seven month absence but fought like he had never left.
On The Beak – Admin
Carl Frampton will make the second defence of his Commonwealth super bantamweight title as the chief-support bout on the undercard of Kell Brook versus Matthew Hatton at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield on March 17. Frampton delivered a punch-perfect performance in his first defence on Saturday, January 28 with a stunning seventh round knockout of Kris Hughes at York Hall, Bethnal Green.
Barry McGuigan’s protégé moved to 12-0 as a pro in front of a sold-out east London crowd and the 24 year-old will fight in front of the biggest crowd of his career so far on March 17 before Brook and Hatton meet in their blockbusting welterweight clash.
“It’s a wonderful bill for Carl to be fighting on,” said McGuigan. “The arena will be full of proper discerning boxing fans who will be eager to see Carl in the flesh. We are anxious to keep him busy this year to solidify his position as the most exciting super bantamweight in Britain and he is chomping at the bit to be involved in this massive night for British boxing.”
Also on the undercard, former British welterweight champ Lee Purdy will hope to get back on track against Nottingham’s Adnan Amar. Purdy claimed the British strap with a fine fifth round stoppage win over Craig Watson at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester in April and then repeated that feat in a rematch in Watson’s backyard of Oldham three months later. He faced Colin Lynes in his second defence at York Hall in November with a chance to claim the Lonsdale belt for keeps, but Lynes tore up the form book to take the belt on points.
John Ryder steps into double figures as a pro on the night, taking on Alistair Warren in an eight-round middleweight clash. Ryder, 23, picked up his sixth win inside the distance on the Frampton-Hughes undercard with a second round stoppage of Mariusz Biskupski taking his unbeaten run to 9-0. Standing in the way of the Islington man’s perfect ten is Huddersfield’s Alistair Warren (8-1-1), the 24 year-old who fought for the WBC super middleweight youth title in November 2010, losing to Hugo Kasperski.
Amateur star Scott Cardle makes his professional debut at lightweight on the night, while unbeaten Dudley middleweight Ryan Aston faces Barnsley’s Lee Noble and Sheffield Heavyweight David Howe also features.
On The Beak – Admin
Manchester man Matthew Hatton has implied that Kell Brook’s preparation may suffer in the build-up to their fight and has warned the Sheffield man that becoming a father for the first time will hurt his quest to win the battle of Britain’s best welterweights. Hatton and Brook clash at the Motorpoint Arena on March 17 in a bout that is broadcast on Sky Sports and the spotlight will be on the unbeaten Brook in his biggest headline show to date.
Hatton believes that the pressure to perform coupled with becoming a Dad for the first time could be too much for the 25-year-old. Both men are due to have baby girls in the build-up to the fight – with Kell’s partner Lindsey due in mid February and Hatton’s partner Jenna early March. But, while Hatton has already experienced training for a fight while become a father, he believes Kell’s plans could be thrown into chaos as he enters parenthood.
“Jenna and I have gone through it all before so there will be nothing new there for us,” said Hatton (42-5-2, 16ko).
“But for Kell it’s a new experience becoming a father for the first time. It’s absolutely amazing of course, but it’s a real shock and it takes some getting used to. It can be a really difficult period and it’s hard to stay focussed on the training. But sometimes in life there are more important things than boxing and being a father is one of them. When you bring kids into the world you have to provide for them so it’s a motivation for the training and the fight as you are doing it for their future.”
Jenna is due to give birth to a baby girl on March 4, just 13 days before he meets Brook (26-0-0, 18ko) in the huge domestic 147lb clash. Hatton has been in this situation before when Jenna was carrying their son Jack as he was preparing to face Craig Watson for the Commonwealth title in Manchester in 2008: “It wasn’t a great performance against Craig,” admitted Hatton. “Jack was about three months old then so it was a difficult time and it definitely affected my performance – and it will have an effect on Kell.”
He continued: “Our baby girl is due on March 4, but Jack was two weeks late. If she goes two weeks over with the new baby it’ll be the day after the fight, so she’s sweating a bit. Jenna’s a massive support for my career and she represented Great Britain and England in a number of swimming events so, as an athlete herself, Jenna knows the dedication involved and the pressures you are under ahead of competing. She was never a boxing fan before we met but she loves her boxing now and she’s more keen on Saturday Fight Night than me to be honest!”
Jenna has left her part-time job as a learning mentor for kids in Salford to go on maternity leave, and as she gets close to her due date, Hatton said he may be tempted to include her into to his preparation.
“She’s quite big now, I think she’s up to about Cruiserweight so we’ve been having a laugh about that around the house!” quipped Hatton. “I’m into camp now, roadwork is underway and I start sparring next week so I had a good Christmas but it’s great being back in the gym and we’re just going to start upping it and upping it as the weeks go on, but the start has been fantastic.”
Over 5,000 tickets were sold in just three days worth of sales, VIP tickets are already sold out, but £30 (tiered), £40 (tiered), £60 (tiered/floor) and £100 (ringside) are available from the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield Box Office on 0114 256 5656 or here.
Related article: Khan: I used to slap Brook around the ring in sparring