Errol Spence Jr. is the new IBF welterweight champion, as he finished Kell Brook in the 11th round of an entertaining bout.
Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) went into enemy territory and took the IBF welterweight title away from Sheffield, England’s own Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) in a very well-contested bout. Brook’s left eye was badly damaged from Spence’s powerful punches, and that proved to be what caused Howard Foster to stop the bout.
It was a real tough back-and-forth battle in the early stages. Brook’s physicality and somewhat awkward style posed problems for the American. They were both very active throwing to the body, but Spence in particular is known for that. Spence wasn’t able to get into a rhythm and Brook was connecting on plenty of crisp counters and worked a good jab. It wasn’t an all-action brawl but it was very competitive and you could sense the high level of skill on display.
The fight changed considerably towards round 8. By then, Spence was more active and accurate with his punches and was able to catch Brook at a more frequent clip. Brook had noticeably slowed down, perhaps from the crippling body blows he’d absorbed throughout the contest. Brook wasn’t answering Spence’s attacks and there was a real sense in the air that the fight was turning against him.
By the end of round 9, Brook’s left eye was grotesquely swollen and he was in noticeable trouble. Spence sensed a finish was near and dropped Brook with a flurry of punches in round 10. Brook beat the count and Spence went in for the finish, but he couldn’t put the Sheffield native away. In fact, Brook found the burst of energy needed to valiantly fight back and tag Spence multiple times, but the sting from those punches had seemingly gone. Spence looked to have punched himself out, but that proved not to be the case, as he poured on the pressure and with Brook’s eye in serious bother, he took a knee on his own accord. Brook got up at the count of 9 but Howard Foster had waved it off, much to the disappointment of the 27,000 fans in attendance at Brammall Lane. Interestingly enough, the official announcement said Brook was counted out, so it goes down as a KO.
At the time of the stoppage, Spence was ahead 97-92, 96-93, and 95-94 on the judges’ scorecards.
Official result: Errol Spence def. Kell Brook by KO at 1:47 of round 11 to become the new IBF Welterweight champion
Brook suffered a fractured right orbital in his loss to Gennady Golovkin last September. Tonight, it was his left eye that was severely damaged. We’ll find out in due time if he’s now had orbital fractures in both eyes in less than a year.
Spence remains undefeated and has conquered his toughest test to date. He has the makings of a superstar in world boxing, and tonight was a terrific performance after a bit of a shaky start.