Sheffield reflections

Kell Brook remained on course for a world title shot next year while Brian Rose left a few questions unanswered as he edged past Javier Maciel in a final eliminator. Callum Smith and Anthony Joshua were also in devastating form as we look back on a cracking show.

By Adam Norman: Twitter @SkySportsNorm.   Last Updated: 28/10/13 1:59pm

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In terms of depth, it was one of the best shows of the year, and with a scintillating stoppage victory from the headline act, who could complain?

Okay, silly question. This is boxing, after all. Even though Kell Brook demolished Ricky Hatton's conqueror of last year Vyasheslav Senchenko inside four rounds, for many it proved little.

And once again Sheffield's finest revealed his vulnerable side by getting wobbled by a right hook before finishing off his opponent, who had already been put on the floor in the previous round.

It was an impressive performance from the 'Special One'. Brook spat the jab in Senchenko's face as the Ukrainian looked to exchange from the opening bell, which served to encourage the home favourite who was able get inside his opponent's longer reach.

Not for the first time Brook looked strong at the weight - the left hand that put Hector Saldivia on the floor once again setting up all Kell's good work.

Every time the right hit the target Senchenko appeared to be scrambled, and when he was floored in the third the legs did not look there, while a glance to the corner betrayed a troubled mind.

However, Brook was unable to finish the job and seemingly revived by the break, Senchenko appeared to gain a footing in the fourth as Kell started to neglect the jab. The taller man landed a right cross that Brook admitted 'buzzed' him, although he was clearly in control of the situation as he fended off the inevitable follow-up.

And the brief moment of anxiety was put to rest when Brook ruthlessly finished it late in the session, a right hook parting Senchenko from his senses to the extent that the fighter knew the game was up even though he had made the count.

It was just the kind of message Team Brook was hoping to send to America, where IBF champion Devon Alexander makes a voluntary defence against Shawn Porter in December, after which the winner must face Kell within 90 days.

However, for the critics Senchenko was just another fringe contender who at 36 was ripe for the picking. The reality probably lies somewhere in between. Kell is clearly back on track for a world title shot in 2014. Only then will we know for sure if he really is as special as they say he is.


Brian Rose was tasked with providing chief support in his WBO final eliminator against Javier Maciel of Argentina. The light-middleweight contest provided all the intrigue and debate a fight could muster, and not for the first time since the season re-started it was the judging that provided the main talking point.

Brian 'The Lion's heart was not called into question, though. Troubled by a nasty cut on the bridge of his nose from an early stage, Rose stuck to his technical skills to survive the heavy raids from an opponent looking for the stoppage.

The Lonsdale Belt holder refused to engage Maciel in a war - despite the increasingly anxious gesticulations from various members of his team at ringside. Rose said afterwards he felt he was several rounds ahead and certainly one judge agreed.

However, it appeared to many that Maciel's higher work-rate had started to overwhelm his opponent, whose combinations were sharp and accurate yet unsustained. But in a fight that was admittedly difficult to score, the Argentine would surely have considered himself unfortunate to find himself behind on two of the three scorecards after the final bell.

And while few will begrudge the likeable Rose's lofty position in the WBO's rankings, even those closest to him must know he will need a lifetime best performance to become the latest Briton to bring home a world title.

The remainder of the show was open to Matchroom's young prospects to showcase their skills on another big stage.

Callum Smith made it seven wins from nine inside the distance when he stepped up in class to defeat former world title challenger Ruben Acosta.

Callum Smith finishes Ruben Acosta with a spiteful body shot

It was the first time in almost nine months that Smith had heard the bell for the second round, for much of his learning in the pro game has been provided by some high-class sparring at Joe Gallagher's gym.

However, such is the belief behind the youngest of four title-winning brothers that he was pitched in with a man 12 years his senior with 40 fights on a colourful CV.

Acosta could clearly take a shot, too, although Smith was patience personified as he worked his openings before unloading the heavy artillery.

The Argentine was softened up in the fifth round by body shots and with Smith by now smelling blood and a whiff of victory, closed the show with another hurtful left downstairs that rendered the veteran unable to continue.

With the WBC international belt now his Smith can look forward to another outing before Christmas en route to bigger fights in 2014. He is surely Britain's hottest talent.


One of his biggest rivals for that title, Anthony Joshua, was also in action and the Olympic champion looked more assured in his second paid outing against grizzled veteran Paul Butlin, who had been in with many a fringe contender and had twice taken Dereck Chisora the distance.

However, Joshua has that one-punch power that every promoter dreams about and it was a heavy straight right hand that split Butlin's skin above the left eye, leaving him vulnerable to more punishment which thankfully was brought to a halt by the intervention of the referee and the fighter's corner.

Joshua is back out on November 14 at York Hall and Eddie Hearn will have his work cut out to keep the hype surrounding the North Londoner under control as he makes his inexorable way towards a first title shot.

Bantam-cum-super-flyweight Kal Yafai made a welcome return to action and while it was not the former Team GB boxer's best performance since turning over, the likeable Brummie will undoubtedly be sharper following his first outing since surgery on a damaged bicep in April.

Spanish foe Santiago Bustos was not without merit and put Yafai under heavy pressure towards the end of their six-rounder, a great learning fight for the 24-year-old who could now contest the vacant English title on the Froch-Groves undercard in less than a month's time.

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