The Special One shows his magic: Brook beats Hatton convincingly on points
00:33 GMT, 18 March 2012
Kell Brook proved his world title credentials with a classy, high-profile win against British welterweight rival Matthew Hatton in Sheffield.
Brook, 25, was under pressure to impress as he topped the bill in front of 10,000 fans at the Motorpoint Arena in his home city.
He managed to do that against Hatton, boxing smartly in a scrappy encounter, to win a unanimous decision and move himself even closer to an inevitable world title shot later this year.
Nowhere to hide: Kell Brook gets on top of Matthew Hatton during the fight and won convincingly on points
Brook, carrying a 26-0 (18KOs) record
into the fight, was a heavy favourite with bookmakers who perhaps
overlooked Hatton's experience and recent form.
The 30-year-old, despite a relatively
modest 42-5-2 (16KOs) record, has hit his peak in recent years and
showed he can mix it with the best when he survived 12 rounds against
WBC light-middleweight champion Saul Alvarez last year.
He was hoping to upset the odds
against Brook to earn another title shot – this time at his natural 10
stone 7lb weight – but Brook was similarly eager to press his claims for
Making his point: Hatton gets on the end of a shot from Brook
Amid a raucous and sometimes violent
atmosphere, the two sized each other up for the opening minute before
Brook established himself with the cleaner shots, bloodying Hatton's
nose late in the opening round.
A left hook counter by Brook early in
the third seemed to hurt Hatton for the first time. Hatton did land a
solid reaching right before the bell but it was a rare moment of
He continued to push for openings but
was largely frustrated as Brook's superior speed and timing continued
to give him the advantage.
Hoping for some magic: Hatton never gave in during the fight but was outclassed by Brook
Brook's hard jab worked away at Hatton's damaged nose, undoubtedly hampering the older man's breathing.
Hatton started the fifth well but
Brook quickly turned it around, rocking the Mancunian with a left hook
and follow-up right. Hatton was in survival mode, managing to escape the
corner and survive the round.
A straightforward left-right seemed
to hurt Hatton in the sixth but the experienced 'away' fighter recovered
well. Another right had him in trouble again soon after and Brook
smelled blood. Again, Hatton held on and briefly fired shots back,
including a quick right followed by the jab.
A winging right by Hatton in the
seventh was perhaps his best punch of the night but Brook shook it off
and resumed control quickly.
Keeping on track: Brook celebrates winning the WBA/IBF Inter-Continental Welterweight Championship
Hatton was having a go, but the action was often scrappy the best of the round was a right to the temple landed by Brook.
Hatton was down in the ninth and
though referee Marcus McDonnell scored a knockdown, it seemed the
Mancunian had slipped as Brook threw a left hook.
Hatton landed a beautiful left hook
early in the 10th, jumping into it and hammering home to Brook's jaw.
The Yorkshireman overcame it with surprising ease, however.
Brook had the crowd on their feet for
the first time in the 11th when he briefly stepped up his aggression.
Hatton was reeling for a moment as the onslaught continued but he got
himself together to see out a scrappy session.
Brook, who was marked up around the
right eye heading into the final round, was still measured rather than
gung-ho in his shot selection.
He did look for the spectacular finish, driving Hatton across the ring,
but had to settle for the points win with scores of 118-109, 119-108 and
On a strong undercard, Welshman Kerry
Hope caused a major upset by outpointing previously-unbeaten Pole
Grzegorz Proksa via majority decision to take the European middleweight
title, while Belfast prospect Carl Frampton retained his Commonwealth
super-bantamweight belt by knocking out Prosper Ankrah of Ghana.