Kell Brook returns to the Fly DSA Arena in his hometown of Sheffield this Saturday in a bid to recapture the form which saw him become IBF Welterweight world champion. The Sheffield man is returning from a 15 month lay-off that has seen him take some time away in the hope to recapture his love for the sport.
Brook beat Michael Zerafa in a hard fought points win last time out in a fight which ideally shouldn’t have been as much of a struggle as it was, however, his opponent Michael Zerafa did hold a victory over Australian, Jeff Horn, whom had claimed a victory over ring legend Manny Pacquiao for the WBO Welterweight title previously, however, I’m sure Kell would have been first to acknowledge he was below usual par in the fight, amidst claims of another struggle to make 147lbs and also a change of trainer.
Kell returns to the 154lb limit on Saturday, arguably a weight which he looks a lot healthier and more comfortable at these days. His previous outing at 154lbs saw a tremendous demolition of Siarhei Rabchanka, at the time it looked like Kell would be climbing back towards a title shot but a period of inactivity following the win over Zerafa has led to the former champion needing a couple of good wins under his belt to maintain hope of securing any big fights in the 154lb division.
Kell has now returned to the Ingle gym, Wincobank, Sheffield, in the hopes of resurrecting what has been a great partnership with world renowned trainer Dominic Ingle, son of the legendary trainer Brendan who led many Sheffield fighters to world championship glory, including Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson and Junior Witter.
Kell is at home in the Ingle setup and I feel this will pay dividends for him if he can maintain the desire that has previously made him a draw in boxing. On Saturday he returns to face American Mark DeLuca, DeLuca is a former Marine boxing champion and is certainly no slouch in boxing terms. At 8-0 as pro, his Marine Reserve unit was activated in 2011 and he was sent to Afghanistan as machine gunner. The American has now progressed to a 24-1 record with 13 of those wins coming by KO and has stated he will come to fight and wants to claim a big win to boost his career. The American has claimed the IBA world Super-Welterweight title in 2017 and now wants a big name on his record.
Speaking at the fight press conference, Kell Brook said: “I feel great, I feel good. I’m ready to fight, it feels good to be preparing for a fight again. I’m fighting back in Sheffield, we know what we get from the fans – amazing support. It’s always an amazing atmosphere in the arena. “DeLuca is in front of me, an ex-marine and a very fit fighter, very strong, he’s going to come over here like it’s his World Title fight. The fans are in for a real treat and I can’t wait to give them that treat. I can’t wait to perform and for the crowd to get behind me and push me on.”
For me personally, it is great to see the Sheffield fighter back in the ring, I have been a big fan of his since he turned professional and remember vividly watching the victory over Shawn Porter when he beat the American to claim the IBF world Welterweight title, following on from that he put up a great showing against GGG in the early rounds and perhaps showed other fighters the blueprint on how to beat Golovkin.
Unfortunately, I feel the jump in weight for that fight and subsequent damage that he suffered has somewhat taken away time in his career where he should have moved forwards and gone on to further establish himself.
He went on to fight American Errol Spence, whom many regard in the top P4P top 5 right now, in a fight where it seemed the demons of the Golovkin fight remained for Kell, again suffering damage to his eye, the fight was extremely close until that point and would have likely been a split decision, had it gone to points. This could now very well be where a turning point where Kell establishes himself as a force in this division and goes on to some career defining fights and a chance to regain a world title.
I wish Kell all the very best of Luck on February 8th. “All of the lights.”
Written By: Jonathan Oxley