Kell Brook: ‘2020 is the year that I become World Champion again’

Kell Brook returned from a 14 month hiatus from the ring to stop Mark DeLuca in seven rounds at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.

A left hook flattened DeLuca and caused the referee to step in after Brook had spent the entire fight badly bloodying and hurting his visitor. The win sets up an exciting 2020 for ‘The Special One’ who now has plenty of options.

“2020 is the year that I become World Champion again,” Brook said afterwards. “I don’t shy away from any fighter, I have a lot of respect for Liam Smith, he boxed a stablemate of mine in Liam Williams.

“I’ve sparred him and if those spars are anything to go by, the fight would be amazing.

“I know he wants the fight. We’ll sit down with Eddie [Hearn] this week. I love the Smith family but once we get in there, it’s business.

“I want to get straight back in the gym, I want to be fighting again in 10 or 12 weeks.”

Terri Harper was crowned WBC Super-Featherweight World Champion after battering Eva Walhstom over ten rounds to rip the famous green and gold belt from the long-reigning Finn and cement herself as a new star of British boxing.

“I had a lot of pressure on me, I’m 23-years old and I’ve just done this, I’ve made history,” she said afterwards. “I got the win, it was a hard fight against a tough girl.”

Kid Galahad earned another shot at IBF Featherweight World Champion Josh Warrington by stopping Claudio Marrero in eight rounds of their Final Eliminator in a hugely-impressive performance.

“After last time against Warrington, I couldn’t leave anything to the judges,” said Galahad afterwards.

Doncaster fan favourite Dave Allen clattered Dorian Darch, flooring him twice in three rounds, to impressively return to action after his loss to David Price last year.

“This means the world to me, I’ve waited for this moment for a long time,” he said. “I’ve come back because I love the game. Whatever I have is because of boxing.”

Martin J Ward stayed on course for a World Title opportunity in 2020 by outpointing Mexico’s Jesus Amparan 100-88, Anthony Tomlinson produced a career-best performance to stop Scotland’s Stewart Burt in their British and Commonwealth Welterweight Title Eliminator, Sheffield Super-Featherweight prospect Donte Dixon moved to 3-0 with a fourth round stoppage win over Eduardo Valverde, John Docherty notched another KO win as he moved to 8-0 by halting Pablo Mendoza in the first round and Sheffield Light-Heavyweight talent Callum Beardow progressed to 2-0 with a points win over Pawel Martyniuk.

Kell Brook: ‘I want whoever holds a belt’

Kell Brook has admitted that nothing less than a “spectacular” win over Mark DeLuca at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield this Saturday will suffice as he looks to regain the attention of the World Champions at 147 and 154 pounds after a lengthy hiatus from the ring.

‘The Special One’ (38-2, 26 KOs) takes on ex-Marine DeLuca for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Super-Welterweight Title in his first fight since December 2018, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US, as he seeks an impressive win to stake his claim for a World Title fight in 2020.

“2020 I want to be two-time champion,” said Brook. “I’ve never been as driven, I’ve never been as focused in my whole career as I am now, because I want to mix it with the best. If I don’t have an unbelievable performance, it doesn’t count on February 8, I’m not happy.

“It’s got to be spectacular. You’ve got to go away and think ‘he’s back better than ever.’ That’s what I want people to say. I want to be on everybody’s lips, ‘I can’t believe what this guy’s done. I can’t believe it. What’s happened? He’s the main man again’. That’s what I’m aiming for.

“I want whoever holds a belt, I want to be a two-time World Champion this year. I could do Welterweight. For the right fight, I’ll do Welterweight. It would have to be a meaningful fight. A World Title fight, or a big meaningful fight.”

DeLuca (24-1, 13 KOs) has already earned the respect of Brook’s trainer Dominic Ingle and the 31-year-old will be hoping to send the hometown hero into retirement and stake his own claim for a World Title shot in the biggest fight of his career.

“Dominic has seen the guy fight live a few times, it is a hard fight,” Brook added. “He’s tough, he’s an ex-Marine, he’s obviously into his fitness. He’s very determined. He knows this is a chance to make a name for himself. He’s going to give it his all.

“He’s learnt on the road. He’s got one defeat and the next fight he avenged the loss, so he’s obviously learning. Really he’s never lost, he’s a winner. He believes this is his chance. I need to listen to the game plan from Dominic and then it’s just about getting in there and executing it.”

Brook vs. DeLuca tops a huge night of action in Sheffield.

Kid Galahad (26-1, 15 KOs) takes on Claudio Marrero (24-3, 17 KOs) in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Featherweight crown, Terri Harper (9-0, 5 KOs) clashes with Finland’s Eva Wahlstrom (23-1-2, 3 KOs) in a unification for the WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight World Titles, Anthony Tomlinson (11-0, 6 KOs) takes on Stewart Burt (13-1-1, 1 KO) in an Eliminator for the British and Commonwealth Welterweight titles, Dave Allen (17-5-2, 14 KOs) makes his long-awaited return after eight months out of the ring, Brentwood Super-Featherweight Martin Joseph Ward (23-1-2, 11 KOs) and Sheffield Super-Featherweight Donte Dixon (2-0, 1 KO) return, Super-Middleweight John Docherty (7-0, 5 KO) continues his march towards a first title and Sheffield Light-Heavyweight Callum Beardow (1-0) fights for the second time as a pro.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing