Tuesday, February 07, 2023  |


Kell Brook easily handles Jo Jo Dan, looks to bigger challenges

Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

Sheffield, England’s IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook recovered from a machete stab wound to successfully defend his world title against Jo Jo Dan on Saturday in his hometown.

The 28-year-old Brook was stabbed in his leg seven months ago, just weeks after dethroning American Shawn Porter to lift the IBF title, but mandatory challenger Dan would have still found himself outclassed had he been the one armed with a sharp object at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena. Halted after four rounds, it was that one-sided.

Still, on paper at least, Dan seemingly deserved his shot. The 33-year-old was number one contender with the IBF, he’d paid his dues, bided his time and boasted two split-decision wins over Canadian Kevin Bizier – the merit of which is unquestionably up for debate. But he was also very much out of his depth in England and a sucker for Brook’s sharp counterpunching and all-round slicker skills. He circled, he crouched, he tried to be awkward and disrupt the champion’s flow with a series of clinches, yet, ultimately, offered little in the way of offense and even less in the way of defense.

For Brook, it was pretty much plain sailing. He grabbed the first round behind a stiff left jab and a succession of straight shots, and then hurt Dan for the first time in round two, dropping the Romanian with a short uppercut inside and then putting him down for a second time thanks to two consecutive right hands. The challenger, many miles from home, was shell-shocked. He dragged himself up off the floor, dusted himself down, but was now only too aware of the difference in levels. Brook had barely woken up, ostensibly still in first gear, yet Dan was already on the brink of being stopped.

It wouldn’t take long for Brook to put Dan out of his misery and bring the curtain down on a successful first title defence. The damage was done in round four, caused by sharp counterpunches, and saw the challenger decked once halfway through the session and then again on the bell. The second knockdown, conjured by a quick and clever left-hook, had Dan reeling, hurt and in need of saving. Had there been time left on the clock, Brook would have no doubt finished proceedings in the most vicious of ways.

As it turned out, however, the bell rang to end round four and Dan was instead recused by his compassionate cornermen. His challenge was over before it had even really begun. In defeat, he falls to 34-3 (18 knockouts). Regrettably, his first world title shot may also be his last.

Brook, meanwhile, remains unbeaten at 34-0 (23 KOs) and continues on his path towards either an all-British world title blockbuster with Amir Khan or, far more audacious, a shot at the winner of May’s super-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

Admittedly, a win over Dan won’t make the welterweight rulers sit up and doff their hats in respect, nor will it surprise too many critics, but the manner in which Brook secured victory will at least make the defence appear somewhat noteworthy. After all, the Sheffield man became the first fighter to stop Dan and did so impressively, receiving barely a jab in the process. He beat him up, overwhelmed him and made the gulf in class abundantly clear from the get-go. It was, in truth, the only way to go about such a vanilla and uninspiring mandatory defence. Rest assured, greater nights lie ahead for ‘Special K’.