Kell Brook marches on. The IBF welterweight champion stopped Frankie Gavin inside six rounds to retain his title and further the view he is a man who is well and truly for the big time, or to be specific, a clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Some may call that a pipedream but following this win and Mayweather’s victory over Manny Pacquiao earlier in the month, the two men are the only world welterweight champion s around. “I want the best out there,” said Brook after this fight and there is no doubt that Mayweather is just that.
A more realistic contest would be a clash with Amir Khan, a domestic humdinger that has long been mooted but forever seems unlikely to happen, and more so after Khan beat the American Chris Algieri in Brooklyn on points on Friday night with a less-than-decisive display. If he did not want to fight Brook before he certainly will not want to now.
Brook was supreme, rarely if ever troubled by Gavin, a technically gifted southpaw who in 2007 became England’s first world amateur champion. He has the skills but was consistently overpowered by the bigger, stronger and more accomplished man.
The champion, in the second defence of the IBF title he won against Shawn Porter last August, peppered Gavin with his jab in the first couple of rounds before connecting with a hard right in the third.
Gavin began to find his range in the following round but his punches lacked punch and Brook finished the job off in the sixth, rocking the challenger with two thudding shots before pinning him against the ropes with a barrage of shots. The referee, Steve Gray, ended proceedings in the final minute of the round.
“I’m bored with Khan talk‚” said Brook after this win. He clearly has his sights set even higher.
Another man who shone here was Lee Selby, who put in an impressive display to win the IBF featherweight title from the Russian Evgeny Gradovich via a unanimous points decision.
Selby has long been regarded as one of the most technically gifted fighters in Britain and he showed his class here, frustrating Gradovich with his movement and precise punching from range.
Gradovich, named the IBF fighter of the year, is renowned for his relentless attacking style and while he kept coming forward, the 28-year-old rarely got close enough to Selby to cause him any trouble.
The pair accidentally clashed heads in the seventh, causing a large cut to appear above Gradovich’s right eye. It was checked in the following round and, a minute in, the referee, Deon Dwarte, acted on the ringside doctor’s advice and called a halt.
Gradovich was unhappy with the call but Selby was way ahead and there was no surprise when he was announced the winner The judges had it 79-73, 80-72, 79-77.
There was disappointment for Kevin Mitchell, however, when he was stopped in the 10th round of his WBC lightweight clash with Jorge Linares.
Mitchell floored the champion in the fifth round but took some heavy punches either side of that and, by the 10th, was battered, bloodied and with his left eye practically closed shut from severe swelling.
Mitchell’s was a brave, impressive display – and he was up on two of the judges’ scorecards – but the swollen eye was causing him huge problems and when he fell to his knees in the 10th after taking a pounding from Linares in the corner, the referee, Victor Loughlin, halted the fight.
Prior to Brook-Gavin, Anthony Joshua was at his brutal best as he stopped the American Kevin Johnson inside two rounds to win his 13th straight fight as a professional heavyweight.
This was meant to be Joshua’s toughest test since he turned pro shortly after winning gold at the 2012 Olympics but he won at a canter, pinning Johnson to the ropes early on and flooring his opponent once at the end of the first round with a flurry of thudding head and body shots, before doing the same again in the second. Ian John-Lewis ended the carnage one minute22 seconds into the round. Joshua has yet to be taken past three rounds as a professional and really there was no doubt that he would prevail easily here.
Johnson has faced the likes of Vitali Klitschko, Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora in his 36-fight career without being stopped but, in truth, he is man more renowned for what he says outside the ring then what he does inside it. Before this contest he claimed he had already written a book outlining how he beat Joshua called One Day Away. Well that has proved to be work of fiction.
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