In front of 27,000 fans at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England, Errol “The Truth” Spence, Jr. stopped Kell Brook in the 11th round to capture the IBF welterweight title, bringing the title back to the US for the first time since Shawn Porter held the belt in 2014.
From the outset the pressure was on the young Spence to prove his detractors wrong. He had only seen the 8th round once in his career and has been on a knockout streak since 2014. Many felt that although he faced former champions like Chris Algieri, Spence was not ready for the type of pressure fight that Kell Brook would deliver.
They were wrong.
"The Truth" looked to be in trouble from jump as Brook dominated the early rounds in front of his hometown crowd. The close and competitive rounds seemed to go Brook’s way, but a consistent succession of body shots and combinations by Spence always highlighted each round as a precursor to the end result. Spence’s southpaw stance put the Brit brilliantly off balance, and his jabs and counter hooks began to have a cumulative effect.
In the seventh, Brook began to show the effects of the onslaught with a swollen left eye. It was the same one that Brook had surgery on for a broken socket after his middleweight battle with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin last September.
In the tenth round,Spence dropped Brook. And in the eleventh, Brook took a knee to end the fight. Errol Spence, Jr. took home the IBF welterweight championship, becoming the first American to dethrone an Englishman in nearly a decade.
“Brook went to America to take the title from an American, like a true champion,” Spence said during the post-fight interview. “I came here to his hometown to get that title back from him. I wanted to win like true champion, and I did because that is what champions do.”
Brook, who took his first loss against Golovkin at a higher weight class, has dominated as a welterweight since wrenching the title from Shawn Porter back in 2014. He defended the belt three times. Many wondered if Brook was going to move up in weight and vacate his title before announcing the match-up with Spence. The question still remains as he takes his second consecutive loss.
“I got caught on the left eye in the seventh and it felt really bad,” Brook said in the post-fight interview. “It was the one the worst feelings I ever had. Kind of like when GGG hit me to fracture my orbital bone. It was devastating. I just couldn’t see."
Spence landed 44 percent of his power shots, comparable to the nearly 43 percent he landed in his four previous CompuBox-tracked fights, and 71 of his 246 total connects were to the body.
Shawn Porter was in the house, among other boxing stars like Carl Frampton. Porter is now the mandatory challenger for welterweight king Keith Thurman’s WBC title. With Spence now holding the IBF belt, both he and Porter are looking to take Thurman on next.
“Now is man down, start of season two,” said Spence. “I want to unify divisions. I want all the champions. I want [Keith] Thurman, Manny Pacquiao. I want to fight the best, just like true champions do.”