Harry Pratt

Brook shaping up for victory over Saldivia

Kell Brook has told boxing fans to expect a new lean, mean and supremely-fit fighting machine when he takes on Argentinian Hector Saldivia this Saturday, in his home city of Sheffield, England.

The undefeated welterweight contender, ranked three by THE RING, faces Saldivia in a final eliminator for the IBF title, currently held by Randall Bailey, who on the same night makes his first defence against fellow American Devon Alexander.

By the time the bell goes in New York, the outcome of Brook-Saldivia will be known – and the 26-year-old English favourite is in no doubt that he will have sent his South American opponent packing.

Brook’s extreme confidence stems from a significant change in his preparations.

He has gone all scientific, in every department, to ensure a hard-earned, majority points win over Carson Jones in July, when he faded alarmingly midway through the bout, is a mere blip on his faultless charge towards the summit.

“We’ve been back to the drawing board. We had a big warning in that fight and now we’ve addressed a lot of things,” said Brook (28-0, 18 knockouts) on Sky Sports’ Ringside show. “We’ve got heart monitors and it’s about the numbers, the food, the strength and conditioning. We’re absolutely meticulous and I can’t wait to see what I’m like.

“When preparing for Jones, like always, I did my own diet and thought I know best. I was getting a bit lazy, really, thinking I’m packing the arenas in Sheffield and all I have to do is turn up. Before I knew it, the fight was around the corner. And he just kept coming at me and later on in the fight I felt my legs weren’t there.

“Nobody was happy afterwards. But I learnt a lot too. That I have a big heart because there was nothing left in the tank. The will to win got me there and now I know for this next fight, I can go 15 or 20 rounds and mix it and still come through. I feel much stronger because of my new diet.”

The bad news for hard-punching Saldivia (41-2, 32 KOs) is there seems little chance Brook is underestimating him.Yes, there are huge fights farther along the road for the Yorkshireman. Should he become IBF holder, both Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan are being lined up by his promoter Eddie Hearn. The latter looks a particularly tasty grudge scrap.

However, right now Brook has eyes only on the immediate business in hand, which is to beat 28-year-old Saldivia in emphatic fashion at the Motorpoint Arena.

“My mind is on Hector Saldivia. We’ve got those other fights to come but I’m focused one hundred per cent on him,” added the British star. “Like the posters say, ‘this is it’. I will go onto fight for the world title if I win – there’s no question or doubt about it. That’s why it’s so important. I need to make a statement to the fans, to myself, to everybody, that they are seeing something special.

“I know he can hit a bit. But if he comes out and tries to put it on me, I’m going to take him a part.”

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