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Kell digs in after broken nose – Rees and Proksa claim Euro titles

Kell Brook beat Carson Jones via a majority decision in an IBF World welterweight eliminator, digging in after breaking his nose.

Brook was well on top after the first half of the fight but the hard-hitting American tagged the Sheffield star in the seventh and blood poured from his nose for the rest of the fight. Brook had to go to a place he’d never been in his career to date as Jones continued to ask serious questions of the unbeaten 26 year old, but ultimately Kell did enough to be awarded the fight by two judges, with the third calling it a draw.

Brook wobbled Jones in the fifth round as a culmination of the opening exchanges caught up with the visitor but his game plan to get the hometown hero to tire appeared to be working as he grew into the fight and he broke his nose in the eighth round with a clubbing right and the final four rounds swayed this way and that as both men looked for a stoppage.

Jones looked every inch the danger man he was predicted to be, landing heavy shots on Brook as he literally sniffed blood. But Brook countered with moments of his own in the tenth round and ultimately passed the gut check test that was a question mark over him having barely lost a round in 27 previous fights. Brook went to hospital as a precaution after the fight and left on Sunday morning in good health, but admitted he had to go to places he’s yet to visit as a pro.

“I had to dig very deep tonight,” said Brook. “I’m doing well, I swallowed a lot of blood so it was just a safety precaution.

“It was a very important fight for me. I showed I had a big heart and dug deep when I needed to. Carson kept pressing but when I broke my nose it was getting hard to breathe so the final rounds were hard.

“I didn’t panic, I stayed in the fight and followed the game plan. Carson knew he’d broken my nose and he kept it going.”

Brook admitted that his preparation was far from perfect and says that he will look for extra help in making sure he is perfect for his next fight, which looks likely to be a final eliminator against Argentine Hector Saldivia later in the year.

“It was the hardest I have ever had to make weight,” said Brook. “We will be bringing in a strength and conditioning coach and you’ll see the improvement. I didn’t feel great in the training camp and I struggled to make the weight. So I need to get the best men in to get the best out of me. I leave the fights to Eddie as he knows what’s right, we’ll sit down and have a chat next week.”

Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn backed his young star’s call for reinforcements as he looks to move his charge into a mandatory position for the World title.

“His preparation has been poor,” said Hearn. “When I say that, I don’t mean that he hasn’t trained hard, but that he hasn’t worked like the pound-for-pound champion that I want him to be. He has struggled with the weight and on Thursday I knew that if it went into the late rounds if would be messy and that he would lose some power.

“In the first six rounds he was superb but he lost steam in the seventh after the nose break but that wasn’t the reason he struggled at the end, it was because of the weight problem.

“He’s a big welterweight. Sport is a science and it’s about finding that edge, that one per cent that could make the difference at the high level I expect Kell to reach.”

Brook’s war with Jones was the meat in a European title sandwich where there were differing fortunes for two Welshman defending their titles on a fantastic night of action in the Steel City.

Gavin Rees stopped Derry Mathews in the ninth round of a terrific battle for Rees’ European strap and Mathews’ British title, as the Newbridge man proved he is ready for a second World title tilt.

Their first fight for the European title ended prematurely after Mathews’ broke his nose in the third round in Newport in October. That clash was brewing into a classic until the injury and the second certainly didn’t disappoint as Mathews took the early rounds before the former WBA light welterweight champion came on strong and almost ended proceedings in the eighth round before stepping on the gas to floor the gallant Merseysider halfway through the ninth.

Before the fight Hearn said that he was in negotiations for a World title shot for the Welshman and Rees says he is ready to pounce on his two-weight World champion dream.

“I want that World title fight now,” said Rees. “I’ll have to be better and I am disappointed with myself as I started poorly but I showed that I am the hardest hitting lightweight in the country and I think that I could knock anyone in the world out when I connect.

“I wasn’t at my best but Derry was fantastic. I didn’t expect him to be that good and you have to give him massive respect, he caught me a lot at the start and he dug in well when I got on top.”

Merthyr Tydfil’s Kerry Hope couldn’t make it a double celebration for the Welshmen though as Greg Proksa clinically stopped him in the eighth round of their European middleweight title rematch. Hope ripped the belt from the Surrey-based Pole after twelve gruelling and bloody rounds but on this occasion the highly rated 27 year old proved to be a class above and made sure his power was felt with a vicious right hand ending the contest despite Hope beating the count.

Lee Purdy made short work of his English welterweight title defence against Chris Johnson, damaging the Lancastrian’s ribs in the opening round with a sickening body shot and pouncing on him to end the fight after just 2.18 minutes. Purdy is now looking for a route back to the British title he held previously, but is also targeting a fight with Denton Vassell, who he pushed all the way in a Commonwealth title fight in April 2010.

“I want Denton next,” said Purdy. “He’s got no-one else to face so let’s do it. His last couple of defences have been against no-marks and he’s just cruised past them on points. Is that where he wants to go with his career? Our fight last time was brilliant but I took it at late notice. I was in great shape tonight and first round or 12th round I was ready to put everything into it. If Denton and I go again I know I will beat him this time as I just keep improving.”

Nottingham’s Curtis Valentine pulled off a fine win in the fifth title fight of the night with a destructive second round win over Dudley middleweight Ryan Aston in their clash for the vacant Midlands Area belt.

Kal Yafai marked an impressive professional debut by forcing experienced journeyman Delroy Spencer to retire after the first round, while fellow ex-Team GB star Scotty Cardle recorded the first stoppage win of his career getting past Hungarian Karoly Lakatos in the second round.

Rocky Fielding made a blistering start to life with Matchroom Sport taking just 2.16 of the opening round to beat Ferenc Hafner and move to 11-0. There were also points wins for Ryan Taylor, Sam O’Maison and Jordan Gill, while Rhys Roberts drew with Dai Davies.

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