Kell Brook’s IBF welterweight clash with Carson Jones on July 7 at the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield promises fireworks after the pair clashed at today’s press conference at the venue. IBF #3 ranked Jones traveled from his Oklahoma home to Sheffield, England, to face hometown star Brook who is ranked two places below him at #5. With the vacant title to be decided by a June meeting between #1 ranked Mike Jones and #2 Randall Bailey, the winner of Brook and Jones’ clash is likely to be given mandatory challenger status when the belt is decided, and Brook admitted he was riled by the American who bragged that he would stop the unbeaten Ingle Gym product in front of his home fans.
“He’s very brash and has a lot to say, and he’s got under my skin if I’m honest,” said Brook. “Talk is cheap though and I’m not interested in what he claims he’s going to do to me in front of my fans. I can assure you though that he is not coming to my town to beat me up and he better get some sightseeing in as he will need some good memories to take back to the States as I’m going to be a nightmare for him on July 7. It’s not going to go 12 rounds. I was too nice against Matthew Hatton and this time you are going to see the nasty side of Kell Brook. He’s the final step towards a World title and he’s not going to get in my way.”
Jones – a year younger than Brook at 25 – has won his last eight fights inside the distance and vowed to silence Brook’s hometown fans and stretch that record to nine. “Inviting me to come over here to fight Brook is a big mistake,” said Jones. “He may have 9,000 fans on the night against five for me, but when we get in the ring it’s just me and him – he might think he’s a beast but I am a monster.”
Before the main event there is a stacked undercard led by two European title rematches. Gavin Rees defends his lightweight title against Derry Mathews 10 months after their original clash in Newport ended in a technical draw after Mathews broke his nose in a head clash. Since then, both men have recorded impressive wins on the road, with Rees defending the belt with an impressive seventh round stoppage of Anthony Mezaache in Paris, before Mathews ripped the British title away from Anthony Crolla in Oldham, stopping ‘Million Dollar’ in the sixth.
“Everyone was disappointed by the first fight as it was brewing up nicely – he started well and I was getting into it before the head clash,” said Rees. “But now the fight is probably much bigger after we’ve both had good wins in our last fights. Derry boxed brilliantly against Anthony, I really didn’t think he was going to win but it was comprehensive and he hurt him on so many occasions, which suggests he can bang at this weight. For me, this is probably my last domestic and European hurdle before getting back to World title level and for Derry he wants to prove he can step up – so the stakes are high for us both.”
“I know what I’ve got to do to beat Gavin,” said Mathews. “I was the underdog the first time we fought and I’ll be the underdog again – but I was the underdog against Crolla and I outclassed him so I don’t pay attention to the odds. Gavin is a different level to Anthony Crolla, he’s proved that he is World class and I’m sure that he wants to get there again, but so do I. He was outstanding in Paris when he beat Mezaache so we’re both on a high, and I think that it’ll be a cracking fight for the fans on a great card.”
Kerry Hope defends the European middleweight title against Greg Proksa in a rematch at the venue where Hope stunned the Surrey-based Pole to take the title on points in a bloody encounter in March. The Welshman is determined to hold onto the belt while Proksa will be gunning to retain it, with show promoter Eddie Hearn dangling a possible autumn date with former champ and World title challenger Darren Barker in front of the winner.
“I was really confident of upsetting Proksa last time and I’m even more confident that I can keep hold of the belt,” said Hope. “Some people have said that he might have taken me lightly and that he’ll be training extra hard to win the title back, but I will be training like I’m the underdog in order to keep hold of it, and with someone like Barker there to fight down the line, I’m sure it will be an even better fight than the first one.”
Matchroom Sport’s latest signing Kal Yafai will make his debut on the undercard, and the 22 year old amateur star is said he is delighted to be kicking off life in the pro ranks on such a star-studded bill.
“It’s a massive honour to be handed your debut fight on a card with so much quality,” said Yafai. “But I knew when I signed with Eddie that these were they types of shows that I would be involved in and that was why I put pen to paper – and I intend to show people that I am worth the hype.”