Boxing weekend review: Kell Brook stops Rafal Jackiewicz
We look back at the best of the weekend's boxing, including Kell Brook's defeat of Rafal Jackiewicz
Boxer of the weekend
Kell Brook. Fighting in front of his hometown fans, the man from Sheffield won his most significant fight to date. Against the tough Polish contender, Rafal Jackiewicz, Brook won every round on his way to sixth-round technical knockout on Saturday night. Using his jab effectively throughout, Brook never enabled his slower opponent to settle, hitting him with hard rights and quick flurries at will. By the time the referee stopped the fight, somewhat prematurely, in the sixth, Brook was the clear winner. It was hard to remember the Briton getting hit with a significant shot, while his Polish opponent was already bleeding and unable to respond to Brook’s methodical onslaught. Jackiewicz had never been stopped before in a 49 fight professional career, making Brook’s accomplishment all the more impressive. Promoter Eddie Hearn dubbed this bout a world title eliminator for undefeated Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko’s WBA title. If Brook were to fight Senchenko next, it would be a significant step up in class – but one which he is capable of making.
Fight of the weekend
Raul Martinez v Rodrigo Guerrero. Rodrigo Guerrero avenged his only career loss on Saturday night in Baja California, Mexico, against American Raul Martinez – as well as winning the vacant IBF junior bantamweight title. The 115 pound fighters entertained the crowd as both boxers traded punches in the centre of the ring, with little regard for defence. Guerrero dropped Martinez in the third with a well timed right hook straight left combination. However, this merely motivated Martinez further and he scored well in the fourth and fifth round, appearing to adjust to Guerrero switching between orthodox and southpaw stances. By the end of the sixth round, Martinez’s face was very bloody, but that had not affected the quality of the fight. The referee, however, went over to the Martinez corner and called off the fight, due to the cuts the boxer had sustained. Martinez was livid and made his feelings known, but he was unable to persuade the referee. As a result, the fight was decided prematurely by the judges’ scorecards and Guerrero won a unanimous decision, the judges having the Mexican ahead by scores of 59-54 and 57-56 (twice). A third fight between these two fighters seems just, and it would be a brilliant way to settle who is the best.
Knockout of the weekend
Sharif Bogere. The undefeated Ugandan lightweight recorded a knockout victory on Friday night in Las Vegas over fellow undefeated contender Francisco Contreras – but there is still much debate over which punch ended the fight. The referee officially called an end to the bout with just under a minute to go in the third round, after Contreas failed to rise for the 10-count and was eventually carried out of the ring on a stretcher. The confusion lies over whether it was the first or second punch Bogere threw that did the damage. Bogere’s first right hand landed just above Contreas’ neck and sent him spinning into the corner. However, Bogere threw a second right while his opponent’s back was turned which appeared to hit him in the shoulder blade. It is impossible to know for sure what punch knocked out his opponent but it certainly made for heated debate after the fight. The Nevada State Athletic Commission ruled that it was Bogere’s first which stopped the fight, so it is likely that history will remember it as such. Not even knockout victories are free of controversy in boxing.
Decision of the weekend
Signing with Eddie Hearn. Promotional company Matchroom Sport and its founder Eddie Hearn are proving that despite the fact they are the new boys in British boxing, they get the job done. Kell Brook has sold out back-to-back fights in Sheffield on Sky Sports since signing with Hearn, while two-time WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch has seen his stature in Britain rise significantly since leaving Mick Hennessy and signing for Matchroom, appearing frequently on Sky, the BBC and other mainstream media outlets. The attention these two fighters now get is far greater than they ever used to receive with their old promoters; this is good for boxing. The more the sport’s biggest stars are able to penetrate into the conscience of non-boxing fans, the more it will grow. Boxing needs young adventurous promoters who are in touch with the reality of the sport’s current standing with the public. So far, Hearn seems to be doing a great job, so expect to see more British talent signing with him very soon.