Kell Brook earns IBF welterweight title with upset win over Shawn Porter

August 17, 2014

Carson, Calif. -- In just his second fight on United States soil, Britain's Kell Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) certainly made an impression on the American boxing public, as he defeated defending IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter (24-1-1, 15 KOs) via majority decision in front of 7,025 boisterous fans at the StubHub Center.  The judges scored the bout 117-111, 116-112, and 114-114.

"You can tell how much it means to me by my reaction,'' said Brook, who was cut over the left eye in the second round. "I've been dreaming about this moment since I was nine-years old. It's unbelievable."

The bout was a clash of styles, as the shorter, more athletic Porter spent most of the night looking to dive in and land a big shot, while the taller Brook used his reach advantage to jab from distance and tie up his opponent on the inside.

Considering Porter's recent knockout win over respected veteran Paulie Malignaggi, Brook's win over Porter should be considered an upset despite his undefeated record.

Perhaps that defeat of Malignaggi gave Porter a false sense that he could end things with one shot, as he came out aggressively swinging for the fences from the first bell.

Brook adjusted well to those tactics, frequently holding Porter in a move that effectively nullified the champion's attack and forced him to reset things from the outside.

Brook's continuous clenching tactics made for a relatively lackluster fight, but nevertheless credit should be given to him for finding a way to slow things down and avoid brawling with the dangerous Porter.

More importantly, all the holding by the naturally larger Brook seemed to affect Porter's stamina, as the champion appeared fatigued in the late rounds.  In fact, two of the judges scored four of the final five rounds in Brook's favor.

Nevertheless, Porter should take his fair share of the blame, as he had no answer for getting inside.

One problem for Porter was his failure to consistently use his jab to set up his power shots.  Instead, Porter would often initiate his attack by diving in with haymakers, most of which missed their target.

Although Porter was the busier man, throwing 626 punches compared to Brook's 441, Porter landed only 25 percent of his shots.

Porter was clearly the aggressor in the fight, but his offensive approach lacked effective aggression.

Brook did not exactly set the world on fire himself, but did just enough right to win, jabbing from distance and mixing in a right hand counter shot here and there when opportunities emerged.

A cut near Porter's eye from a head butt in Round 6 also helped out Brook a bit, as Porter seemed to have difficulty later seeing some of Brook's shots.

For Brook, this world title shot arose only after his championship bout with Devon Alexander was cancelled three times due to injuries to both boxers.  Porter would end up taking the belt from Alexander, eventually leading to Saturday's matchup.

"I was scrappy tonight, and not as slick as I wanted to be," said Brook.  "But I'm the world champion now, baby. I was born to do this."

Porter thought he had done enough to win his second title defense.

"I think I'm still the champion,'' he said. "I'm 24-1 and Team Porter will be back to the drawing board. There are no excuses. I do want the rematch."

With the win, Brook could not help but look past a rematch with Porter.

"I'm ready for a mega, mega fight next," said Brook.  "I'll take on Keith Thurman or Floyd Mayweather. Amir Khan should get in queue now. I'm the world champion now so they're all going to want to fight me."

Dirrell defeats Bika in ugly rematch

The Anthony Dirrell-Sakio Bika rematch seemed to be the type of fight that might produce some fireworks.

On one side, there was the awkward brawling style of Bika, contrasted with Dirrell's more slick boxing skills.  Throw in some bad blood and pre-fight trash talking, and one would think that a reasonably entertaining fight would result.

Unfortunately, the actual fisticuffs in the ring failed to meet the pre-fight hype, as unbeaten Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22 KOs) unanimously outpointed defending champion Sakio Bika (32-5-3, 21 KOs) in a borderline wrestling match to take the WBC Super Middleweight World Title.  The judges scored the bout 117-110, 116-111, and 114-113.

On a brighter note, Dirrell became the second cancer survivor to capture a world title.

"This journey has been amazing and I can't even fathom it,'' said Dirrell.  "I already overcame the biggest fight of my life by beating cancer. I can't see anything being bigger than this. I was never close to giving up. I stuck to it and now I'm WBC world champion."

The fight featured takedowns, low blows, holding, and several warnings from referee Jack Reis.  Reis finally deducted a point from Bika for a low blow in the eighth.

"Tonight the referee did a wonderful job," said Dirrell.  "Bika is rough, he's a helluva fighter. But I'm glad to finally have him in my rearview mirror. I'm not gonna complain about the close scores. I got a unanimous decision and I couldn't be happier."

The fight seemed to start off with promise, as both men aggressively launched bombs in the first minute of Round 1.

"The difference between this fight and our first one is that I wasn't on the ropes this time," said Dirrell.  "I came out and boxed. But I know I got his attention at the start.''

However, any hope of an entertaining bout quickly faded, as the fight devolved into a redundant and sloppy hit-and-hold affair for the remaining rounds.

Bika did not contest the decision, stating, "I fought very hard. He was a better fighter tonight. I'm going to go back to the gym and come back stronger. This (losing) happens.''

Overall, Dirrell proved to be the slightly more accurate fighter, landing 156 of his 452 punches (35%), compared to Bika's 124 of 421 (29%).

The difference in the end was technique, as Bika's looping shots proved less effective than Dirrell's straighter combination punches.

Omar Figueroa wins thriller over Daniel Estrada 

Undefeated Omar "Panterita" Figueroa Jr. (23-0-1, 18 KOs) closed the show in an exciting fashion in the evening's most fan-friendly bout, as he successfully retained his WBC Lightweight World Championship with a ninth-round knockout over determined mandatory challenger Daniel "Tremendo" Estrada (32-3-1, 24 KOs), of Mexico City.

Figueroa, making his first title defense, for the most part dominated and broke down a game, but overmatched Estrada, as he led by scores of 80-72, 79-73, and 79-73 entering Round 9.

But Estrada had his moments as well, including an excellent stretch late in Round 8 when he had Figueroa trapped in the corner and unleashed a series of combination power shots.

Early in Round 9, Figueroa rallied with a hard right that dropped Estrada. He eventually made it to his feet, but was defenseless as Figueroa continued to flail away with both hands. The referee properly stopped the bout at the one-minute mark of the ninth round.

"I don't think I did that great and obviously felt I could be more explosive and maybe get him out of there earlier,'' said Figueroa, who suffered a cut from a head butt earlier in the fight. "I was a little concerned that the referee or doctor would stop the fight because of the cut. I knew Estrada would be open for the right hand. I was playing a little possum when I caught him.''

The knockout was no small feat considering Figueroa's history of hand problems.

"My left hand is a little swollen, but my right hand feels pretty good," said Figueroa.

Estrada, who was making his U.S. debut, fought under trying circumstances, as the bout was less than three weeks after a sister and her daughter were killed in an automobile accident in Mexico.

"Initially I felt good, but he hurt me and I couldn't recuperate," said the classy Estrada.  "I had the mentality to win, but I was up against a great champion.''

As for the future, Figueroa hinted afterward that he might vacate the belt he had just successfully defended due to his difficulty to make weight at 135.

News and Notes

  • The crowd was packed with some of the sport's bests, including Marcos Maidana, Juan Manuel Marquez, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Leo Santa Cruz, Andre Berto, Jesus Soto Karass, Alfredo Angulo, and Devon Alexander.  Also in attendance were former Lakers center Andrew Bynum, and Bishop Don Magic Juan.

By Brendon Richbourgh and Mike Elliott
Contributing Writer and Editor for

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