Kell Brook makes his return to the boxing ring on February 8 looking to reinvent his somewhat stalling career, but will a quick victory against Mark DeLuca at the Sheffield Arena help get him back to fighting in real main events.
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Brook v DeLuca: What Has Happened To Brook?
Kell Brook was once seen as the future of the welterweight division. He was on top of the world in 2014 when he took a majority decision to defeat Shawn Porter to become the IBF welterweight champion. It looked like Brook would have the pick of the big fights and become a global superstar. He successfully defended his title on three occasions against Jo Jo Dan, Frankie Gavin and Kevin Bizier. But still the big fights were not coming.
He decided to move up to middleweight to land the biggest fight of his career in 2016. He was paired up against unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Brook felt this was his passage to greatness, a strong performance against one of the best would elevate him to headline status in England and America. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Despite matching Golovkin for the majority of the five rounds they were in the ring, the fight was stopped when Brook’s trainer Dominic Ingle threw in the towel after his fighter suffered a damaged eye socket and was unable to see properly.
It was tough luck for Brook, but he knew he could fight on the biggest stage and he just wanted to have another chance to prove it. His next fight saw him drop back down to welterweight but he lost his title after Errol Spence Jr stopped him in the 11th. Brook admitted that Spence Jr ‘is one of the best kids I’ve been in with’ and still felt he was one of the best in the business despite two consecutive defeats.
It would be 10 months until we saw Brook in the ring again, and despite constant calls to fight Amir Khan the big names seemed to elude him yet again. A second round knockout of Sergey Rabchenko and a unanimous points decision over Michael Zerafa took his professional record to 38-2, but no-one was impressed and his name stopped being mentioned when discussing the big fights.
Brook did not step inside the ring in 2019, but he is raring to go against DeLuca on February 8. He knows he has to put on a sterling performance if he is going to entice the big names. He still wants the Khan bout, but that still looks like a fantasy rather than reality. He has even admitted that he would seriously consider retirement if he couldn’t beat DeLuca, so you could say his career is on the line. Although it really isn’t, he should have no real problems in this one.
Brook v DeLuca: Who Is Mark DeLuca?
You would be forgiven for not knowing who Mark DeLuca is, that is the level of Brook’s opponents at this time. DeLuca, who is known as the Bazooka, has had 25 professional fights. He has won 24 with one defeat and he is yet to be knocked out. His records stands up, but he hasn’t really fought anyone. His most memorable fights have been the two bouts against Walter Wright. DeLuca lost the first contest for the NABA Super Welter title via a split decision. He got his revenge four months later when he was handed a unanimous decision in Boston to regain his title. DeLuca will enjoy the experience of facing a fighter like Brook, but he will be lucky if he manages to see five rounds in Sheffield.
Kell Brook v Mark DeLuca Tips
This will not be a classic and it could actually be over in a blink of an eye. Brook wins this one convincingly and will leave the ring without a mark on him. The bookmakers have Brook as the overwhelming favourite to win this fight. There is no real benefit from backing Brook to win the fight outright, the best way to get value for money in this is to predict the round it will end in. During his career, Brook has won 23 of his 38 fights by stopping his opponent before the end of the sixth round. This one will be no different. Brook is in a different league to DeLuca. The only way this fight goes past six rounds is if Brook is in full control and he just wants to get some rounds under his belt and treats it as a glorified sparring session. We predict that Brook will sound his opponent in the opening rounds and will make sure he ends it with a straight right to the face in the fifth round.