HULL, England – Undefeated welterweight Kell Brook has been missing and out of action for months but returned tonight to score an eighth-round stoppage of Oklahoma’s Carson Jones at the Craven Park Stadium in Hull.
Official time was 1:07.
The bout, scheduled for ten rounds at a catchweight of 152 pounds, was a rematch of an action-packed encounter which took place in Brook’s home town of Sheffield last July. That night Brook (30-0, 20 knockouts) got off to a great start but was tested severely by the American, who rallied brilliantly down the stretch to hurt the younger man.
Brook escaped with a majority decision but his face was bloodied and his ego bruised.
The Brit was tested again tonight but held it together and finished the fight in style. The end came when Brook floored Jones with a cluster of punches at the start of Round 8, and although the American rose gamely, Brook was on him and landed enough shots to convince the referee to halt the action.
“It was a great performance,” said Brook, THE RING’s No. 3-rated welterweight. “Jones is a very tough customer but I’m happy that I got a few rounds tonight. The next fight will be at welterweight and we’re looking at September or October.”
“Jones was taking real punishment in there and I’m happy with the victory. Still, you have to take your hat off to him because he was hurt early and kept coming back. I’m done with him now and I can move on.”
Brook established the jab in Round 1, peppered Jones with a quality combination and uncorked a dangerous looking right hook which would become a signature shot throughout the contest.
Indeed that very punch set up a cracking right uppercut in the second round. Jones hesitated after taking the shot, thought twice about remaining on his feet and took a knee. Brook followed up well and landed more hurtful punches as the bell rang to end the session.
What didn’t land in Round 3? Thudding right hooks landed flush on Jones and at this stage the fight was target practice. Little was coming back and the Sheffield star also hammered in hooks to the midsection which had Jones falling into retreat. Everything was being set up by an accurate jab, which pierced the guard with regularity.
Still, like the boogeyman in a horror movie Jones would not die. In the fourth he fired back at Brook, who appeared uncomfortable in the face of an unlikely comeback. It was nightmare territory once again for “The Special One,” who took heavy punishment against the ropes before unloading with straight shots down the center.
Jones remained on the ascendancy in Round 5, pushing Brook back and unloading with both hands to head and body. Brooks’ responses were less consistent now and Jones was showing terrific heart and guts at the midway point.
Brook seemed to sense urgency and came out to meet fire with fire in the sixth. He sent in destructive shots from all angles and Jones was on the verge of going down again. Inexplicably Brook then backed off and went into a southpaw stance and lost his chance of an earlier finish.
It was one last roll of the dice for Jones in Round 7 as he pushed Brook backwards with authority but there were more gaps now and he caught some heavy counter punching. The damage was mounting and the twenty-seven-year-old simply folded in the following session when Brook raised the ante.
Jones (35-10-3, 25 KOs) had fought twice since the first bout with Brook but hadn’t impressed. He battled his way to a draw against Dublin’s Dean Byrne and was overweight in April when he blasted out a journeyman named Travis Hartman. Coming into the rematch one felt that this was Brook’s fight to lose.
This result will be a huge relief for Brook and his team. The Brit has been pigeonholed by many as a reluctant gladiator who will stop at nothing to avoid a bout with IBF titlist Devon Alexander. That outlook is cynical and, for this reporter, Brook has simply been unlucky with injury and circumstances.
When asked about the future Eddie Hearn stated, “We’ve agreed terms with a top welterweight and will disclose the name of the opponent later on in the week.”
For now Kell Brook can live for the moment and enjoy his victory. He can worry about what lies ahead in due course.
Photos: Scott Heavey-Gettyimages
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and contributes to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing