By Danny Winterbottom
Unbeaten welterweight Kell Brook solidified his number one contender status with the IBF as he dispatched former world champion and Ricky Hatton conqueror Vyacheslav Senchenko in four rounds in Sheffield.
Brook, who could afford nothing less than victory over the Ukrainian following a period of uncertainty in a once promising career, seized the centre of the ring from the first bell, controlled his upright opponent with his jab for the most part then demonstrated his punching power by dropping Senchenko in round three with a one two.
Senchenko was there for the taking and Brook took full advantage in round four but not before he was jolted by a right hook himself.
The punch had an effect on the legs of Brook, and the crowd let out a collective groan as the Sheffield star momentarily looked to be in trouble. The Ukrainian sensed another British boxing scalp was his for the taking after ruining the comeback of Ricky Hatton last year, but Brook, who had worked tirelessly on his conditioning following his near capitulation against Carson Jones, recovered quickly and his shot at an upset had gone.
Brook re-established his control of the round, once his feet were firmly back under him, and a final crushing right hand caused Senchenko to stumble into him before crashing face first into the canvas.
The visitor struggled to his feet but the contest was waved off by referee Shada Murdaugh at 2-57. One sensed the weight of expectation lift from the muscular shoulders of Brook as he turned to his corner man Dominic Ingle and mouthed the words “Thank f—k for that!”
With this victory Brook maintains his number one contender position with the IBF and is in line to face the winner of Devon Alexander and Shawn Porter when the pair clash on Nov 30 in Texas although promoter Eddie Hearn is keeping his options open for the Sheffield man’s next move.
“Kell, at the very least will fight for the IBF title next. Other options? I can confidently say we would fight Amir Khan in a non-title fight and Adrien Broner is another big fight because that is a huge pay per view event in the UK.”
Despite his victory some doubt still lingers over Brook at the very top level and one wonders if hurt by Khan or Broner as he was in the very round he ended matters with Senchenko, would he have been afforded the time to recover or would the fast hands of Khan or the power of the American have put him to the sword? Only time will tell for Kell.
Brian Rose defied the pre-fight odds to come through a gruelling 12 round contest via split decision over Argentine champion Javier Marcel in their WBO light middleweight title eliminator in Sheffield.
Marcel forced Rose onto the back foot with his aggressive style but the Blackpool man was much more accurate with his shots throughout and this differing approach to the contest showed in the judges’ scorecards with one seeing the visitor a 115-113 winner but the Englishman secured victory with cards that read 117-111 and 116-113.
Rose pumped out his jab overtime in the early going as he found Marcel easy to pick off at range. The Argentine bruiser made life more uncomfortable for the former British champion by the midway point as he whipped nasty uppercuts through the Blackpool man’s guard that opened up a cut on the bridge of his nose.
At times Rose looked uncertain at how to react to Marcel’s attacks as he would often just cover up without moving his upper body with Marcel teeing off on him, but he would suddenly snap out of this defensive posture to land solid shots of his own.
The contest boiled down to the conventional, more accurate style of Rose vs. the unpredictable but eye catching work of the visitor.
When Rose was declared a split decision winner he sunk to his knees in relief and was mobbed by his trainer Bobby Rimmer and associated members of his team.
Victory for Rose will earn him a crack at the winner of Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade who meet next month for the vacant WBO title in Texas.
“I’m usually a pretty cool character, but I wasn’t cool when I got that decision-I burst into tears” a delighted Rose told Sky Sports following the contest.
“There were times when I had to dig deep. I haven’t had to do that before. But you still haven’t seen the best of me. As I go up in levels the better I will get” Rose added.
London Olympic super heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua made it two wins from two outings as a professional when he halted tough journeyman Paul Butlin in the second round of a scheduled six threes.
The 24-year-old from Watford found his range in the early going and landed some heavy blows on the brave but outgunned Butlin in the opening round.
Butlin lasted into the second but when a left hook followed by a straight right dropped him to the canvas he rose to his feet with a nasty cut above his left eye.
Joshua landed a further flurry of blows and the referee waved the contest off as Butlin’s corner through in the towel.
“I’m still improving and now I can get ready for November 14” Joshua told Sky Sports.
“Butlin was a tough guy and I like someone who comes to fight and he did that.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn said “He showed so much more composure tonight. Butlin has been the distance twice with Dereck Chisora but we are talking about a different class of fighter here.”
Liverpool’s Callum Smith was taken beyond the opening three minutes of a contest following a record breaking run of six first round stoppages before he halted former world title challenger Ruben Eduardo Acosta at 1-20 of the sixth stanza.
Smith (9-0, 7 knockouts) is one of the world’s top prospects and having established his jab over the first five rounds he landed a left hook to the body of the 35-year-old visitor that sent Acosta to the canvas.
Acosta beat the count but Smith had made the crucial break through and several follow up shots set up another crushing liver shot that put paid to the visitor.
Acosta once challenged Robert Stieglitz for the WBO world title in 2009 and Smith looks to be headed for the top of the 168lbs division.
Former Beijing Olympian Kal Yafai returned to action following a torn bicep injury suffered in his victory over Michael Ramabeletsa in March with a routine six threes victory over Santiago Bustos at featherweight.
The official scorecard read 59-55.
Yafai has all the ingredients to make a huge impact on the already talent laden super bantamweight division and will be hoping to make up for lost time following his return to the ring.