Kell Brook’s next fight will be for the IBF welterweight title after he took just three rounds to destroy Hector Saldivia in their final eliminator clash at the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield on Saturday night.
Brook was challenged by his team, his fans and his critics to prove his new training regime had made his second half struggles against Carson Jones a one-time blip – and the Sheffield star passes the test with blistering skill and power.
The unbeaten 26 year old stepped into his groove in the opening round, and after hurting Saldivia early notably with a pair of jabs and a right hook, the Argentine puncher was on the deck after a stinging right uppercut.
A right hook early in the second round had Saldivia backed onto the ropes and underlined Brook as the boss in there. The visitor was badly marked up under the right eye and was wobbled again, and when he did try at the end of the second round to demonstrate some of the power that has seen him KO 32 of his 41 victims, Brook ate them up with ease, sensing he had his foe in trouble.
Brook was told by Dominic Ingle to go out in the third and work the jab and with just 20 seconds on the clock he delivered a perfectly time left jab to floor Saldivia and end the contest.
“I did all the hard work and was the best prepared I’ve ever been so I made it easy for myself,” said Brook. “The team have stepped me up every week to fight night and everything was planned to the smallest detail and in the dressing room I knew there was no doubt there because I would have to be beaten by a monster in there, and I didn’t even get started in truth.
“The uppercut in the first started it all off. I didn’t rush in and finish him as he was always going to be dangerous so it was best to just peck away at him. My left jabs are like right hands now and I stepped in on it as he came forward so the timing was perfect.
“I came into boxing to become a World champion and bring it back to Sheffield and I can taste that now.”
Ingle was delighted with the performance of his charge and said that he saw the shoots of the new Kell Brook growing in the 12-week training camp.
“We always knew Kell had a performance like this in him,” said Ingle. “I’ve known him since he was nine and you need to set him challenges. He was a joy to work with in training and the Carson Jones fight was the best thing that could happen to him because he’s come out of it stronger and worked harder than ever and you saw that on Saturday.”
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn said the work to plan Brook’s World title fight will begin right away, with Devon Alexander beating Randall Bailey in New York just a few hours after the Sheffield man’s triumph.
“We’ll be putting pressure on to fight Alexander now and I don’t like Kell to be out of the ring for too long,” said Hearn. “He’s fought six times in 15 months. He’ll have a nice holiday now, and maybe another one at Christmas but I want him to be out again in February or March.
“Only fights with Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton would take precedence over a World title fight. But we’re in a great position now - we’re the mandatory challenger for the IBF title and that’s not going to go away, we’ve worked hard to get into this position and we want to exploit it and make the World title fight happen.”