The welterweight division has a new world champion and his name is Errol Spence Jr.
Spence defeated Kell Brook in the 11th round to win the IBF welterweight championship after Brook took a knee and didn’t respond to the referee’s 10 count, ending the fight ad awarding Spence his very first world title in front of a rabid Sheffield, England crowd.
Spence, who had not fought since last August, did not think he performed as well as he could have, partly due to the layoff.
“I think the layoff had me kind of shaky in there,” Spence said. “He’s tricky fighter and awkward. He’s also a strong fighter who can punch. I give myself a B-. I was a little bit off with my offense and defense. But I give Kell a lot of credit (for that).”
One of the biggest stories heading into the fight was whether or not Brook’s surgically-repaired right eye can handle Spence’s power. Unfortunately for Brook, it was his left eye that started to swell badly, beginning in the seventh round. Brook said he could not handle the double vision from the swollen left eye.
“He’s one of the best kids I’ve been in with – if not the best,” Brook said. “I got caught in the seventh round in the left eye. It was like the Golovkin fight, although not quite as bad. He caught me in the 11th and the double vision just stuck. I live to fight another day – I’m gutted that, in front of my home fans, I’ve lost my belt.”
Spence’s offense was very effective throughout the fight outlanding Brook in jabs and power punches. According to ShoStats, Spence landed 31 percent of his jabs (83 of 264) and 44 percent of his power punches (163 of 369), while Brook only connected on 12 percent of his jabs (14 of 115) and 37 percent of his power punches (122 of 327).
After the fight, Spence said he would love to fight unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman in a unification bout, but will have to wait for a while for that fight to happen. Thurman recently had surgery and will be out for at least six months while he recovers.
The other world title fight in the card saw George Groves win his first world championship after stopping Fedor Chudinov in the sixth round to win the WBA super middleweight championship.