Brook puts the smile back in local boxing

WBA Inter-Continental Welterweight title Fight at Hilolsborough Leisure Centre.....Sheffield's Kell Brook in action Lovemore N'Dou  from Australia
WBA Inter-Continental Welterweight title Fight at Hilolsborough Leisure Centre.....Sheffield's Kell Brook in action Lovemore N'Dou from Australia
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SHEFFIELD boxing has been needing a shot in the arm since old-school veterans Ryan Rhodes and Junior Witter were beaten in milestone, high profile battles within 11 days of each other, this month.

SHEFFIELD boxing has been needing a shot in the arm since old-school veterans Ryan Rhodes and Junior Witter were beaten in milestone, high profile battles within 11 days of each other, this month.

So on Saturday night, up stepped the young man seen as the future of not just South Yorkshire boxing, or British, but hopefully of world title material.

And the competition was a step up indeed for Kell Brook, fighting former IBF world champion Lovemore N’Dou with the heart of a lion and a forehead seemingly made of concrete.

The Ingle man responded to the challenge with a dominating 12-rounds points win, (119-110, 119-110 118-111.)

The only mistake made all night was when Brook was handed the wrong winner’s belt to parade – and accidentally dropped it on the way to the dressing room.

Witter broke his hand on N’Dou’s rock hard head in 2005 in Los Angeles and Brook was nursing some discomfort in his left paw after winning the vacant WBA Inter-Continental welterweight title at Hillsborough Leisure Centre.

Fighting in his home city for the first time in six years, Brook had hoped to inflict the first ever KO of N’Dou but said he was equally happy to finish his first 12-rounder.

“I have never done 12 before and I was holding back. There are things that we need to work on but overall it was a good performance.

“Not knocking him out doesn’t matter, 12 rounds is good for my CV against an opponent no one has come close to stopping, not even Saul Alvarez, who has said he is the next big thing so, it’s a big learning curve.

“It was an amazing atmosphere, the crowd got behind me and I’d definitely want to fight here again.” Brook, who retained his British and WBO inter-Continental champion belts in a fifth round TKO of Michael Jennings in 2010 hadn’t boxed since December.

And the same could be said of N’Dou, who in the same month lost to the Mexican Alvarez; the superstar who overwhelmed Rhodes last weekend. Brook, 25, and 14 years junior to N’Dou, had to dodge some wild left hooks in the first round but his 1,000 plus fans were soon on their feet when he landed a decent right to the head.

He showed more movement than N’Dou although in a barnstorming fourth round in which both landed some ferocious shots. Two rounds later Brook’s punishing upper cuts – a threat all night – wreaked damage and he was consistently landing a variety of punches to the head.

By round nine it was obvious veteran N’Dou (48-13-2) needed to pull something special out the bag; the visitor kept trying to land an overhand right.

But a comeback was never going to happen. Brook, so light on his feet, was dictating events and staying out of the way of B’Dou’s poorly timed swings.

The crowd was baying for blood as a big Brook right landed flush on the top of his rival’s head.

In the final round, N’Dou was hanging on for grim survival, with Rhodes, at ringside, screaming to Brook to finish him with body shots.

The Australian-based African twice had to grab at Brook’s legs to stop the pounding. It was a heck of a way to record his 24th straight win of a career which started at Don Valley stadium in 2004.

The win will certainly have strengthened his bargaining power to compete for the welterweight division’s major prizes.

Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn commented: “He needs more fights like that against tough opponents.

“He’ll watch that video 100 times and being so smart, so clever he’ll continue to improve.”

Sheffield heavyweight Richard Towers was also unable to find the KO punch against Belgian Ismail Abdoul, who went 12 rounds with David Haye in 2006, but easily won on points. However the city light heavy Wayne Reed was stopped in the fourth round by ex world champ Robin Reid. Northampton’s Paul David beat Stannington’s Billy Boyle on points.