Kell Brook got the win, but will be bitterly disappointed in his abject performance in defeating Michael Zerafa at the FlyDSA Arena in his home City of Sheffield. He now becomes the mandatory challenger for the WBA Super Welterweight Title.
He was making a debut under new trainer John Fewkes, with the move to Fewkes’ stable made official, as it was originally thought that previous trainer, Dominic Ingle was otherwise engaged. It has since transpired that this is now a permanent move.
Brook, decked out in Santa Claus themed red and white shorts, complete with thick black belt, started brightly, with Zerafa resembling the proverbial rabbit in the headlights, caught with a big uppercut, and his nose bloodied by a straight Brook right. Any thoughts of an early night were dispelled though, as the Melbourne man pot shotted with jabs, but landed with a decent right hand in the second to demand Kell’s respect. He continued his good work into the third with decent work off the jab, but Brook regained the initiative at the end of the session. Brook dominated the third in the main, but Zerafa was still enjoying the odd moment of success to keep the Sheffield man alert.
Zerafa was growing into the fight, undeterred by the hometown hero’s assaults, and landing well on the counter. Brook’s defence was leaky, and although he was winning the fight comfortably enough, Zerafa was still lively and very much in the fight, regularly catching a sloppy Brook with clean enough shots. The Aussie was troubled in the seventh, as Brook applied more pressure, and he was backing Zerafa up with jolting shots. The crowd were beginning to flatten, and Brook was desperately trying to up the tempo. In the ninth Zerafa rallied, and caught Brook with a salvo of shots that momentarily worried the Sheffield “Special One”.
Brook regained control in round ten, but was unable to pin Zerafa down significantly. In the final round, Brook was instructed to see out the round by his trainer, but he abandoned this advice to engage in a tear up, in which, after Brook landed with a right hand, he went in for the finish, and Zerafa countered with some hard shots to stop Brook in his tracks.
The fight went the distance with the decision going the Yorkshireman’s way by scores of 118-110, 119-109 and 117-111, which doesn’t go much way to telling the story. The crowd were very subdued at the verdict at the end, which reflected the performance.
Brook described the performance as “rusty” and “flat” and thought that the performance may bring prospective opponents to the table, encouraged by what they had seen.
It’s unclear what Brook’s next move may now be. I only see him returning to Welterweight to fight Amir Khan, although he did mention Errol Spence and Shawn Porter in his post fight interview. This seems unrealistic as he seemingly had outgrown Welter. He only weighed in at 150lbs for this fight, four pounds under the Super Welterweight limit, so that may suggest he isn’t a fully fledged 154 pounder.
🥊 Kell Brook fights Michael Zerafa tonight. Will Amir Khan be his next fight?
👀 Khan: "Let's make it happen"#BrookZerafa
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) December 8, 2018
Zerafa was comfortable enough in the face of Brook’s power, and a fight with Jarrett Hurd, the WBA (Super) and IBF Champion at Super Welterweight may be a dangerous assignment. The near future hinges on weather Amir Khan agrees a fight with WBO Welterweight Champion, Terence Crawford, and Brook will hope for a fight in my opinion with the Bolton man, rather than chase the big fish at Super Welter.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) December 9, 2018