After surviving a stabbing incident just over six months ago, Kell Brook defends his IBF Welterweight title against relative unknown Jo Jo Dan at the Motorpoint Arena in his hometown of Sheffield this weekend.
There were doubts raised last year (by the doctor treating him, no less) as to whether Kell Brook could ever fight again. Thankfully, Brook has fully recovered and fights this Saturday night against an opponent that many see as a stepping stone to a megafight with one of the biggest names in the sport.
Kell Brook is a heavy 1/12 favourite for the World Title bout, while Jo Jo Dan can be backed at prices high as 9/1.
At 33 years of age, Ionut Dan Ion (to give his non-ring name) is ranked 19th in the world. While seeming to look out of his depth, Dan at least appears confident about victory:
“Kell has not fought anyone like me,”
“I believe in myself and I don’t think he can bring anything I can’t deal with on fight night. I saw his last fight where he won the world title and it was a great performance, but I just let my team study him in depth and come up with a winning strategy.”
Reasons The Champion Will Win
Kell Brook is undefeated in 33 fights thus far, boasting an impressive 22 knockouts. His most recent victory came against previously unbeaten American Shawn Porter. Wins over the likes of Viacheslav Senchenko (conquerer of Ricky Hatton) and the aforementioned Porter show the difference in level that both fighters have operated at up to this point.
Brook’s movement against Porter last year was fantastic, as we can see from just one example:
It will be interesting to see whether Kell’s mobility has been affected by the lay-off.
The man himself doesn’t seem too perturbed:
“I’m focused and the leg injury has not been an issue, physically or mentally”.
Reasons The Challenger Can Cause An Upset
Jo Jo has three faint hopes in this fight.
A Puncher’s Chance
The problem with this theory is Dan’s average KO record; just over half his wins have come by knockout, with just two of them since 2011.
Kell Brook Writing Him Off
Brook is in danger of looking too far beyond this week’s fight.
“I’ve always said from the second I walked into the gym that I want to be a world champion and not just a champion at one weight, at many different weights,”
“If that’s against Pacquiao, or Mayweather, that is who I want. I want the fights where fans think I can’t win. That’s what gets me up for these exciting fights. I’m a world champion and I want to be in with the best of this piping hot division.”
The constant talk of a British superfight with compatriot Amir Khan may also have turned his head.
That Stabbing Incident
As of yet, it is unclear how Kell Brook’s traumatic experience last year will affect him in the ring. Eddie Hearn himself has alluded to the possibility that it could affect Brook adversely.
Ricky Hatton’s succinct assessment of the bout says all you need to know.
“A lot of people might not know much about his opponent, but you don’t get to be a mandatory challenger without being a world class fighter and he’ll give his all. That said, I think Kell will shine and then move on to those big fights he’s chasing for later in the year.” – Ricky Hatton
Kell Brook to win by knockout in the 8th round. (12/1 Betfair)
Other fights on the night include: