On Saturday night, IBF world welterweight champion Kell Brook knocked out mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier inside 2 rounds at the Sheffield Arena, making both him and my prediction (6th round k.o) look silly. It was a clinical performance from the 29 year old Brit, who was making his 3rd defence of his IBF world title, but who should he fight next? That is the question everyone wants to know the answer too and I’m going to evaluate Kell’s next step and who he should target next.
‘The Special One’ is undoubtably one of the best, if not the best pound-for-pound British boxer, alongside talents such as Tyson Fury and Carl Frampton, of course. Trying to guess who Kell Brook will fight next is a near on impossible task due to the amount of potential options he has, he could even move up in weight just like domestic rival Amir Khan has done.
So who’s it going to be? The winner of Bradley v Pacquiao? WBC world champion Danny Garica? Lets evaluate his options…
Boxing legend and former world champion Manny Pacquiao will fight another former world champion in Timothy Bradley in what will be their deciding 3rd fight in a trilogy that has seen both men lose. The fight which takes place on April 9th, coincidently the same night that will hopefully see Anthony Joshua become IBF world heavyweight champion, will probably be Pac-man’s last fight as he has set his retirement to pursue a more politically motivated career. On the other hand though 32 year old American Bradley, who’s only career defeat so far was his rematch with Pacquiao, is at the top of the welterweight division and is one of the best in the division not to be holding a world title. Brook would love to share a ring with Bradley, a fighter who Eddie Hearn believes would come and fight here in the UK, and it would be a top boxing scalp to claim if Brook could beat him.
Hearn recently talked to Sky Sports about Kell possibly fighting Bradley
“The Bradley fight is one I’ve always thought could happen for Kell Brook, I think he’s one of the elite fighters in the world that would travel.” – Eddie Hearn
With Bradley being the most likely next opponent for Brook win or lose v Pacquiao, it would be a great name to add to his list if he could beat Bradley and would hopefully open up more opportunities within the welterweight division.
The undefeated American who holds the WBC belt, one in which Brook was recently quoted saying he would “love”, is a potential option for Brook if he is aiming to unify the welterweight division. Garcia has knocked out a man who Brook has been targeting for years in Amir Khan and is considered to be Khan’s bogeyman, someone who people think would beat Khan every time he shared a ring with him. In January, Garcia beat former 2 weight world champion in Robert Guerrero to claim the WBC belt at the staples centre in LA. Eddie Hearn believes Garcia wouldn’t like to fight Brook and wouldn’t leave the US to make the fight happen, with only 2 of his 32 fights happening outside of the US.
Keith Thurman is a man on the rise within the boxing world, defeating people such as Leonard Bundu, Robert Guerrero and Luis Collazo on his way to a perfect 26-0-0 record. The 27 year old American currently holds the WBA welterweight title making 2 successful defences since his version of the WBA belt became regular rather than interim after a unanimous decision win over Robert Guerrero in 2015. Thurman was scheduled to defend his belt against Shawn Porter, the man who lost his IBF belt to Kell Brook, in March 2016 but injury has pushed the fight back later into the year meaning a potential fight with Brook in July is off the cards. However, a unification bout later in the year or in 2017 is definitely being talked about providing Thurman can ward off any challengers and Brook can continue punching his was through the welterweight division. For the fight to happen, it might require Brook to travel to the US but, as we saw in the fight against Shawn Porter, Kell can definitely handle any pressure away from home.
The last of the 3 Americans currently holding a welterweight world title is Jessie Vargas. The 26 year old, boasting a record of 27-1-0, is the youngest of the 4 belt holders in the division with his only career defeat so far coming against Timothy Bradley for the interim WBO welterweight title in 2015. The young American has not really been challenged in his career so far, fighting people of a lower standard with the exception of Timothy Bradley. Vargas knocked out a fellow American, Sadam Ali for the vacant WBO belt earlier this month in a very convincing fashion. Despite Vargas not being that big of a name in the boxing world, he is a world title holder and Brook should be wanting to unify the division in any way possible. If Brook was to fight Vargas, it would not be that big of a fight state side, and it would be a fight many would expect Brook to win convincingly.
Move Up In Weight
Kell Brook also has the option to move up in weight like rival Amir Khan has done, to middleweight. This has been talked about a lot by Brook himself and Eddie Hearn but is probably more of a move he would make in the future because he wouldn’t want to give up his IBF welterweight belt. A potential opponent he could face and a big name in boxing would be former middleweight world champion Miguel Cotto, who in his last fight lost to Saul Alvarez by unanimous decision. The Puerto Rican boxer who has a 40-5-0 record has shared a ring with some of boxings biggest talents, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. He would be a big name for Brook in a fight that would undoubtably draw massive attention across the world. The only problem with this fight for Brook is the lack of a world title on the line.
In the video below, Eddie Hearn, Kell Brook and Dominic Ingle (Brook’s trainer) discuss Kell’s future in a press conference.
Whilst it remains to be seen who Kell Brook will be fighting next, options are starting to appear and hopefully in the near future, he will be able to unify the division.