/ Boxing

Kell Brook and Jamie McDonnell send home fans home happy in Sheffield

Updated: Saturday, 20 Oct 2012 23:17

Kell Brook, now undefeated in 29 fights, finishes off his rival
Kell Brook, now undefeated in 29 fights, finishes off his rival

Kell Brook tore the house down on his biggest night in Sheffield, stopping Argentinian Hector Saldivia inside three rounds to book himself a shot at a world title.

The hometown hero twice floored his well-regarded opponent, once in the first round with a right hander and then again 28 seconds into the third, with a savage left jab stunning the man known as El Tigre.

Brook is now undefeated in 29 fights and his next will be for the IBF world welterweight title early next year - with Randall Bailey or Devon Alexander lying in wait.

Tonight's demolition job was a far cry from Brook's last appearance in July when he hung on for a majority verdict against Carson Jones, with his bloodied shorts and broken nose not the hallmarks of a man headed for a shot at a belt.

But he has since honed his physique to a new level, desperate not to fall into similar traps and to pursue the dream of ruling the world that he has harboured since he was nine.

This showing will calm any fears borne out of the Jones fight and also helps vindicate his decision to enter a brutal 12-week training camp which has seen him develop the new look he sported tonight.

He has spent the build-up hollering from the rooftops of the Steel City that he is the man to succeed Naseem Hamed as a world champion from Sheffield, and he stormed into the ring riding the crest of a wave generated by a near-capacity crowd at the Motorpoint Arena.

Brook looked desperate to prove his new credentials, fizzing into his stride with a leading left, with Saldivia looking loose early on. His lack of a defence would cost him too, with Brook teeing up a right that floored him for a count of eight.

He then had Saldivia wobbling with a right, before getting him in trouble again at the start of the second, unleashing a left-right-left reel against the ropes. He was then warned for use of the elbow, though, and Saldivia, who has gone off early before, went on the attack, winding up behind a right hand before the bell rang.

That suggested the 28-year-old was in it for the long haul, but Brook put that to bed just 28 seconds after his rest in the corner, finding Saldivia wide open and putting him down with a venomous jab that he could not recover from.

"There were some demons after my last fight," Brook admitted afterwards.

"But I knew in the dressing room that I was ready. We've been hitting the numbers and when we go for the world title, we will carry on where we have left off. I am ready to turn into a machine."

Elsewhere, Jamie McDonnell will fight for the IBF world bantamweight title next year after finding a way to break down a tough-as-teak stand-in who had threatened to ruin his big night.

The Doncaster man, boxing as chief support to Brook, was finding the going tough against Darwin Zamora, a late call-up following the withdrawal of Vusi Malinga, until the Nicaraguan opted not to get off his stool at the end of the eighth round.

With open cuts on the left-hand side of his face, the relative unknown decided against soaking up further punishment, conceding the riches on offer for winning this final eliminator.

And while there was no doubt he was headed for a defeat on the cards when he called time, McDonnell will have been relieved not to have had to do another four rounds with him, for everything he was throwing seemed to be making little impression, other than the facial wound which developed from the sixth round onwards.

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