Spence dethrones Brook, Groves crushes Chudinov

28/05/2017 07:47

Unbeaten welterweight Errol Spence Jr (22-0, 19 KOs) dethroned defending champion Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) by a 11th round KO on Saturday night at Bramall lane Football Ground in Sheffield.

Brook took a knee and stayed down for the count with his left eye badly swollen, handing Spence the IBF welterweight title.

An eye injury was also a decisive factor in Brook's previous defeat. Brook suffered a broken right eye socket in a fifth round loss to middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in September.

Brook made a good start, countering well over the visitor's single jabs and landing right hands through Spence's guard.

But it was obvious early on that the American southpaw's speed would cause Brook problems, as Spence landed some hard shots of his own.

It remained competitive at the halfway point but Brook’s attacks were having little effect on the challenger.

Spence started to connect more regularly to head and body, and by the the seventh Brook’s left eye began to swell.

The hometown fighter landed his best punches of the fight in the eighth, but Spence upped his work rate in the following rounds.

By the 10th Brook was getting busted up and he was floored by a series of head and body shots.

Brook, his left eye almost swollen shut, got up and tried to fire back but Spence's punches was too powerful and in the 11th, Brook finally took a knee and was counted out by referee Howard Foster at 1:47 of the round.

"I give myself a B-minus," said Spence. "I was a little bit off with my offence and defence, but I give Kell a lot of credit. I proved tonight that I had a chin and I have true grit. He came over to America to take the title (from Shawn Porter) and I came over to the UK to take the title from him. This is what true champions do. You go anywhere to fight. He's a true champion, and I wanted to fight him. He's a tricky fighter and awkward. He's also a strong fighter who can punch."

"I want to unify divisions. I want all the champions. I want Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao. I want to fight the best, just like true champions do."

Spence is now on course for some mega-fights at 147lb, although he is unlikely to fight neither Thurman or Pacquiao next.

WBA and WBC champion Thurman will likely be out of action until early next year after having right elbow surgery last month.

WBO champion Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to defend against Jeff Horn in Australia on July 2.

"Spence is one of the best if not the best I’ve faced," said Brook. "I got caught in the seventh round in the left eye. It was like the Golovkin fight, although not quite as bad but it was getting worse. I had double vision and I couldn’t see out of the eye. So I had to stop. I’ll live to fight another day.

"I'm gutted that, in front of my home fans, I've lost my belt."

Also on the card, George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) captured the vacant WBA super middleweight title with a sixth round TKO over former champion Fedor Chudinov (14-2, 10 KOs).

Groves became world champion at the fourth attempt, stopping Chudinov on his feet with unanswered punching.

In his previous world title fights, Groves was stopped twice by countryman Carl Froch in 2013 and 2014, and then he lost to Badou Jack by a split points decision in September 2015.

Chudinov lost the WBA title by a disputed majority decision to Felix Sturm, who vacated the belt after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol following the February 2016 bout. 

The Russian caught Groves repeatedly with hard shots early on and the Briton remained on the back foot in the following rounds as Chudinov continued to march forward relentlessly, throwing a high volume of punches.

Groves was cut above his left eye in the fourth from a clash of heads, but he responded with several combinations and he landed more punches than Chudinov in the fifth.

Then Groves produced his best punches in the sixth and following a barrage of unanswered punches, referee Steve Gray stopped the fight at 1:13 of the round.

"This is the end of a lifetime's work," said Groves. " (Trainer) Shane McGuigan has resurrected my career. Now I'm mature enough to admit that. I feel like I'm the best in the division. I'm willing and ready to fight anyone.
"He caught me with some good right hooks, and one actually stung quite a bit. But I found my feet.

"I can put those losses to bed now, get on with my life and hopefully go on to better things."

The win sets up the possibility of an all British unification clash between Groves and IBF champion James DeGale next year. Groves outpointed bitter rival DeGale in May 2011.

Groves could also fight WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez, or the winner of the WBC title bout between Callum Smith and Anthony Dirrell, who meet in Los Angeles on September 9.