Brook-Saldivia Set for October 20th

By: Danny Richardson

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On Monday afternoon, it was announced that unbeaten welterweight prospect Kell the ‘Special One’ Brook,  will face Argentina’s Hector Saldivia at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, on October 20th. Brook, who is unbeaten in 28 contests, will face the hard hitting South American in front of his home fans for the third fight running, with the winner in line to become the mandatory challenger for the IBF welterweight title, currently held by Randall Bailey. With Bailey due to make the defence of his title in September against Devon Alexander, Brook will hope to secure a fight with the winner early next year, but must first get through the tough Saldivia, who has only 2 career defeats. Although Saldivia will prove to be a test for the Steel City man, Brook should win this fight comfortably, and earn a world title shot in the process.

It has been just over a month since Brook came through his toughest test to date against the hard hitting American Carson Jones, with Brook claiming a majority decision verdict over the Brooklyn man. Brook had started the contest well, dominating for the first six rounds, before a broken nose lead to the Yorkshire man fading badly, as he was left barely standing after a torrid second half of the fight. Although he showed plenty of courage, heart and a great chin, Brook’s critics have jumped all over his performance against Jones, with many claiming he will never be at a world level.

However, I for one believe that Jones provided Brook with what he needed, a reality check. Brook answered a lot of the questions that had been asked of him, but more importantly, admitted that changes needed to made in preparation. Brook said that he had cut corners in training and struggled to shed the weight needed to make the welterweight limit in the run up to his fight with Jones ,leading to him gassing out after 6 rounds, in a fight he had dominated till the halfway stage. Brook admitted the problems he had needed addressing, and that appears to have happened.

Brook has hired a nutritionist as part of a new backroom team, which also includes a sports scientist. With these new members on board, the Sheffield man has already stated he has felt better in training as he looks to prepare properly for world level fighters. With these experts part of Team Brook, we should see a new and improved ‘Special One’.

If we do see an improvement in stamina – then Brook should be able to make easy work of Saldivia. Although the Argentine has knocked out 32 opponents in 41 wins, the quality of the opposition he has faced hasn’t been the best, and some pundits see Saldivia as a step down from Carson Jones. Although he can bang, Brook has proved he has a great chin and should be able to out box Saldivia for 12 rounds, if his fitness is improved.

Let’s be honest – if Brook had not gassed out against Jones, he would have dominated for 12 rounds, because his boxing ability is not in doubt. He doesn’t have one punch knockout power, but he certainly is big enough to wear opponents down and force late stoppages.He’s fast, throws classy combinations and has a terrific jab. If he can keep up the pace against Saldivia, I fully believe he’ll win in style. Saldivia has been stopped before, and he hasn’t come up against anyone with Brook’s talent. Plus, he very rarely fights outside Argentina, so coming over to Sheffield could play a factor in the fight, we all saw what happened to Lucian Bute when he came to Nottingham.

However, the opponent for me isn’t the talking point, it’s the route Brook has taken to get into the position he’s in now. Under Eddie Hearn, Brook has planned a steady route to the top, preserving his unbeaten record, gaining fans and earning money in the process. Although he may have been matched kindly at times, he now finds himself one fight away from a world title shot. Should he beat Saldivia, he’ll be the mandatory for the IBF title, and that should secure him a fight against Devon Alexander early next year, should Alexander beat Randall Bailey. I fully expect Alexander to have too much class for Bailey, and I believe a Brook/Alexander fight would be huge. Both are terrific boxers, and if the fight could be brought over to Sheffield, it would be a massive event for British boxing.

Brook may have been criticised in the past for not facing the biggest names out there, but should he beat Saldivia, he’ll be in for a big name fight and then he’ll find himself to be a big name on the world stage. He’ll have picked up the experience needed to compete at the highest level, as well as gaining an army of fans. It’s clever promotion by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, because right now Brook is one of the biggest names in British boxing and I can’t wait to see him fight for the world title, and neither can his legion of supporters.

His skills are not in question, and should that stamina issue be sorted, I can see Brook becoming an outstanding boxer. I am fully behind him and I have tickets for the Saldivia fight, so once again look out for more previews and weigh in news the closer the fight gets. I am a massive fan of Brook, and I’ll be right behind him come October 20th, when hopefully, a world title shot will be guaranteed for the ‘Special One’.

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