SHEFFIELD’S world champion boxing hope Kell Brook came a punch closer to his dream with an impressive American debut which saw him stop Luis Galarza in the fifth round, writes Graham Walker.
Brook, aged 25, with Brendan Ingle’s son Dominic in his corner, preserved his unbeaten record of 26 straight wins as he out-boxed the durable 29-year-old Puerto Rican.
But the South Yorkshire fighter, nearing a shot at one of the welterweight world titles, had to work hard for it in the early hours of this morning at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City.
He picked apart his tough opponent, who took some big punches and was visibly wobbled in every round.
Galarza refused to go down and threw a handful of impressive punches as he tried to fight his way back into the match, but he was outclassed.
Brook threw a series of sickening punches in round four which knocked Galarza’s gum shied out of his mouth and earned him a breather while the referee paused the fight so he could retrieve it.
But a stoppage was inevitable and it came after a flurry of blows knocked Brook’s target through the ropes.
Gutsy Galarza stayed on his feet but the referee had seen enough of the one-sided performance and stopped the battering.
The win took Brook to 26-0 with 18 stoppages while Galarza dropped to 17-3 (13 KO wins).
He tested the water in the opening moments - taking a strong right over the top for his trouble - but soon assumed control by the end of the session and had Galarza stunned briefly as a left hook hurt his opponent and a right - a split second after the bell - scrambled the Puerto Rican’s senses.
A powerful left showed Galarza’s own power in the second. Brook soon jumped in with a right hand before picking his shots brilliantly to hurt his man again.
Perfectly timed left hooks were dominating the fight for the classy Yorkshireman and when he planted his feet to let the power shots go, Galarza was in deep water.
Referee Allan Huggins was watching closely, seemingly ready to step in and end Galarza’s misery as the sparse crowd enjoyed Brook’s work. But Galarza, though cut around the right eye and swollen in several other places, survived into the fourth.
Brook was prepared to bide his time before stepping it up in the fifth.
A stiff right hand shook Galarza and after taking a step back, Brook followed it up with a left hook and sharp right combination which had Galarza out on his feet and prompted Huggins to step in after one minute and 38 seconds of the round.
Brook celebrated the technical knock-out by admitting he had been hiding nerves ahead of the biggest fight of his life before a Sky TV audience of millions, on the under card of the WBA and WBC Andre Ward v Carl Froch fight.
He said: “Coming to America on my debut, I’m happy with that. I was hiding it saying I wasn’t nervous. I was.
“He was durable fighter and I’m glad I’ve got that one out of the way.”
Two of Sheffield’s best-loved boxers backed Brook to win his debut in America and believe he’s got what it takes to go on and conquer the world.
Former world champion Clinton Woods and European title contender Ryan Rhodes believe Brook is the man to lead a new golden generation of city boxers.
Two elite boxers stand in his way, but they are at the end of their careers - Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
Rhodes, who aims to win back his European title next year and hopes for a third world title shot himself, said :” Kell has got everything you need to be a world champion.”
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