Dan Rafael: Kell Brook

Hearn: Brook-Khan discussions begin

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
9:28
AM ET

Newly crowned welterweight titlist Kell Brook is getting a hero's welcome in his hometown of Sheffield, England.

Brook won a well-deserved majority decision against Shawn Porter on Saturday night in Carson, California, to claim a 147-pound world title and thrust himself onto the world stage.

The 28-year-old Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) is set to address fans and media Friday at the Winter Garden in Sheffield. Members of Team Brook will be greeted by Councillor Peter Rippon, who is the mayor of Sheffield, at town hall before Brook, trainer Dominic Ingle and promoter Eddie Hearn will address the media and fans. Brook will also sign autographs.

“I am so proud to be bringing the title back to Sheffield,” Brook said. “The people have always supported me so passionately from day one, and I am sure that they all stayed up to see me win the title. I am looking forward to thanking them on Friday, and I hope there’s a great turnout.”

While Brook basks in the glory of the title victory, Hearn is already making plans for his first title defense. He said it will take place Dec. 6 in Sheffield against an opponent to be determined.

“He came of age in that ring, and great things lie in wait for him, including [a fight with countryman] Amir Khan,” Hearn wrote in his Daily Mail column. “I am looking at next spring or summer in a fight, maybe at Wembley, that will be just as big as [Carl] Froch-George Groves. I’ve started talks on it.”

Hearn said that Khan, a former unified junior welterweight titlist now at welterweight, is interested in the fight and “we are, too. People from Showtime, who show Khan’s fights in the U.S., came into the dressing room after Kell won and said ‘Let’s talk.’ Other U.S. broadcasters have also been on -- it’s exciting times.

“I think this [Brook-Khan] fight can be made, but people have to put arrogance and ego to one side. Before, when we offered Khan 3 million pounds to fight, he didn’t fancy it. Kell had a reasonable name and no title. He has a huge name and a world title now. That changes the negotiating position a lot, but this is such a big fight, everyone can do well out of it. So long as Khan doesn’t demand an unrealistic split, we should make it happen. I want to make this fight, and I think it will be huge. Maybe Floyd Mayweather will feature down the line. Kell is certainly in that reckoning now.”

Hearn said that besides Khan, other names he has in mind as possible opponents for Brook on Dec. 6 include former titlist Andre Berto (if he wins on Sept. 6), Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios and Josesito Lopez.

“[They] are all names being thrown in the pot, but it is very early days,” he said. “We will talk over the options and go from there. Kell has a great future and I am so happy for him.”

Brook is in a great position in that he is not aligned with HBO, Showtime, Top Rank or Al Haymon, which means a Brook fight against any top welterweight faces no impediments since Hearn is able to make a deal with any of those entities.
Omar Figueroa and Daniel EstradaCarlos Delgado/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsOmar Figueroa, right, defends his lightweight title against Daniel Estrada on Saturday.

Lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa Jr. is one of boxing’s most exciting performers. He loves to rumble, rarely takes a backward step and throws tons of hard punches.

But one thing that has hampered him is hand problems, something that often takes its toll on powerful punchers.

Although Figueroa says his hands are fine as he heads into his second title defense when he faces mandatory challenger Daniel Estrada (32-2-1, 24 KOs), 29, of Mexico, on the undercard of the Shawn Porter-Kell Brook welterweight title bout Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET with preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, he knows that anything can happen at any moment with his fragile hands.

"My hands will always be an issue,” Figueroa said. “We will find out how long they last me on Saturday. I hope they last me long enough to get rid of my opponent. If not, then I will have to suck it up.”

Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs), 24, of Weslaco, Texas, has sucked it up before, one of the things that makes him such a fan favorite.

When he battled Japan’s Nihito Arakawa in an interim title fight in 13 months ago, Figueroa won a decision in one of the most savage fights of the year. Making Figueroa’s victory even more impressive was the fact that he injured both his hands in the bout.

The injury kept him out of the ring for nine months before he returned April 26 to make his first defense, a split decision against Jerry Belmontes, his amateur rival.

Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, Figueroa’s promoter, knows what it’s like to have hand injuries. He had his share during his Hall of Fame career.

De La Hoya was fortunate that his hand problems never became severe enough to seriously hamper his career and he is hoping the same thing for Figueroa.

“He’s a terrific fighter and he loves throwing punches, but when you go in the ring with an AK-47 but with no bullets, it’s a big problem. He can continue to fight but the next step is to get him with the right doctors.

“Many fighters have had problems with their hands but when you get them with the right doctors it can help the situation. It’s a matter of making sure he does the right therapy and is going to the right doctor. Maybe he hasn’t done the therapy on his hands the right way. It could be a problem with the wrapping of his hands. We have to sit down with him after the fight and figure out the problem, but he has a bright future if his hands hold up.”

To train for the fight with Estrada -- who will have close adviser and future Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez working in his corner -- Figueroa did not train in California with Joel Diaz, as he had been.

"The reason why I moved back home and started training with my dad [Omar Sr.] was mainly because I wanted to be close to my daughter. I missed her terribly when I wasn't home,” Figueroa said. “I wasn't able to take advantage of the things that were presented to me by training with Joel Diaz because of my [sore] hands, so I decided to just stay home. If I wasn't able to get the world-class sparring and training, then what was I doing being away from my family? Leaving Joel Diaz had nothing to do with him, I love him. It was solely a personal decision.

"My dad grinds my gears. It can be a bit rocky. But with the knowledge I brought over from training with Joel Diaz it can make me grow as a boxer and my dad will grow as a trainer.”

Ruiz to face faded Liakhovich

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
9:35
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A few notes from the boxing world:

" Heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz Jr. (22-0, 16 KOs), 24, will headline a card on Sept. 20 (UniMas) in Phoenix against former world titleholder Sergei Liakhovich (26-6, 16 KOs), who lives in Arizona. Although Liakhovich is the first name opponent of Ruiz’s career, he is badly diminished. The 38-year-old, who is originally from Belarus, has lost three of his last four fights with each defeat coming by knockout, although he won his most recent fight by eight-round decision against the unknown Chad Davis, who was 5-11. When Liakhovich faced Deontay Wilder last August, Wilder knocked him out so severely in the first round that Liakhovich was on the canvas convulsing.

" Although there is no opponent set yet, the HBO target date for middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin’s next fight is Oct. 18. Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) retained his title for the 11th time on July 26, destroying former titlist Daniel Geale by third-round knockout.

" HBO announced that “The Fight Game With Jim Lampley,” a 30-minute boxing studio show that covers the top fights and issues in the sport, will return for a four-show run beginning Sept. 16 with additional episodes on Oct. 28, Nov. 18 and Dec. 23.

“I am excited to hit the ground running in September and deliver four more shows during what promises to be a robust time in the boxing season,” said Lampley, HBO’s blow-by-blow commentator. “We will continue to explore hot-button issues, sprinkle in some entertaining elements, and deliver comprehensive unfiltered discussion and analysis of the sport on this platform.”

" One week after claiming a vacant secondary middleweight title on Showtime, Daniel Jacobs, who knocked out Jarrod Fletcher in the fifth round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, will be ringside to serve as a guest analyst for the network’s tripleheader topped by the mandatory fight between welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and Kell Brook from the StubHub Center in Carson, California, on Saturday night (9 ET/PT).

“How cool is that? Fighting one week on one coast on Showtime and then announcing the fights the very next week on Showtime from the other coast,” said Jacobs, who will sit in for regular analyst Paulie Malignaggi, who will miss the card for family reasons. “I love this. I think announcing fits me. To be able to do something like this, to be in this position, is very important to me. Other fighters have done it as well, of course, but for me to be able to follow in their footsteps is an honor. It shows that we can not only announce fights, but we can be good at it."

Welterweight titlist Shawn Porter has a tough assignment in mandatory challenger Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) of England on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

But if Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) prevails, one of the best fights that could be made in the division would be to match him vs. interim titleholder Keith “One Time” Thurman.

Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs) is sidelined at the moment nursing a shoulder injury, but he is expected back in action in October, not against Porter.

But if Porter wins Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET with preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT) and Thurman comes through his October fight, a Porter-Thurman showdown in early 2015 would be something to get excited about.

Both are in the vast stable of adviser Al Haymon, so the fight could be made easily. And you can bank on this: Showtime would be an interested buyer.

So what about it? Porter was enthusiastic about the possibility of facing Thurman.

“I'll fight ‘One Time’ two times,” Porter said. “I don't look past what's in front of me. Again, we've seen it all over the internet, all over the media wavelengths -- everybody wants that fight. I think it'd be an exciting fight, and it's a fight that I wouldn't turn down.”

Dan Birmingham, Thurman’s trainer, recently told ESPN.com that he thinks the fight will eventually happen. Like everyone else, he thinks it would be a good one.

“I think that fight is inevitable,” Birmingham said. “We know those guys, Shawn and his dad [Kenny Porter]. We have had Shawn in our camp before and we’re friends with them, but this is also business. We all know they might have to fight. When they do, it’ll be a great fight.”
Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder and lightweight contender Jorge Linares now have opponents for their fights on the Aug. 16 Shawn Porter-Kell Brook undercard at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) is staying busy in anticipation of a mandatory heavyweight title shot against Bermane Stiverne and taking no gambles.

Wilder, a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, who has faced extremely soft opposition throughout his career, will face gargantuan underdog Jason Gavern (25-16-4, 11 KOs), 37, who has won four of his last five fights following a seven-fight losing streak. He has been knocked out in seven of his losses. In his last fight, Gavern lost a three-round decision to Michael Sprott in a “Prizefighter” tournament final in England in November after winning a three-round decision against the totally shot James Toney in the semifinals earlier in the evening.

Linares (36-3, 23 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight world titleholder, will face club fighter Ira Terry (26-11, 16 KOs), who is 2-9 with a no contest in his last 12 bouts. He has been knocked out in seven of his defeats. Linares is staying busy in anticipation of a possible shot against the winner of the fight between lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa and mandatory challenger Daniel Estrada, which is also on the card.
Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder and lightweight contender Jorge Linares have both been added to the undercard of welterweight titlist Shawn Porter’s mandatory defense against Kell Brook on Aug. 16 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Wilder is the mandatory challenger for heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne, who knocked out Chris Arreola in May to win the belt vacated by Vitali Klitschko upon his retirement late last year. Stiverne-Wilder is supposed to take place before the end of the year, but with Stiverne nursing a hand injury it is unclear when the fight will take place because even if his hand is good to go in the next month or two, the camps are still likely headed to a purse bid, which means at least another 90-day wait following a bid.

Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz told ESPN.com that the Aug. 16 fight, a scheduled 10-rounder against an opponent to be determined, is simply to keep Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, active and sharp before he fights for a world title.

Linares (36-3, 23 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight world titleholder, will fight an eight-rounder against an opponent to be determined on the card, which also will feature lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa in a mandatory defense against Daniel Estrada and super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika in a rematch against Anthony Dirrell.

By virtue of his decision win against Nihito Arakawa on March 8, Linares is in line to be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Figueroa-Estrada bout. By having Linares fight on the card, Diaz said it will keep his schedule in line with the winner’s so that they could possibly meet before the end of the year.

Showtime is televising the three title bouts on the card, and though the network has not announced anything yet, it seems likely that the Wilder and Linares bouts would be part of the Showtime Extreme coverage of the preliminary bouts.
Shawn Porter Rob Carr/Getty ImagesShawn Porter will defend his welterweight title on Aug. 16 against Kell Brook in Carson, California.
Unless a promoter is being paid a site fee for a fight -- typically by a casino -- the promoter usually will look to hold the card in a venue where he can sell the most tickets and, thus, maximize revenue.

That's why, for example, Miguel Cotto fights in New York's Madison Square Garden so often, why Top Rank took lightweight titlist Terence Crawford home to Omaha for his first defense last month and why Golden Boy loads up its cards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with New York fighters.

So when Golden Boy announced that its excellent Aug. 16 Showtime tripleheader would be at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, I was a bit surprised.

Don't get me wrong -- StubHub Center is one of the best boxing venues in the country. There have been numerous great fights there in its relatively short history.

But the Aug. 16 card features welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (from Akron, Ohio) against Kell Brook (England), super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika (Australia) against Anthony Dirrell (Flint, Michigan) and lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa (Weslaco, Texas) against Daniel Estrada (Mexico).

They are all solid and worthy matchups, but not a single bout has any local tie to Southern California and none of the fighters is a remotely notable ticket seller in the region.

So I asked Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya why he put the show in a place that didn't seem to make much sense given the composition of the card. I was not surprised when De La Hoya made the case for the StubHub Center, which is an outdoor tennis arena that holds about 8,000 for boxing.

"The StubHub Center was a perfect fit for this type of card," De La Hoya said. "As you know, StubHub Center has the reputation of staging some of the best fights in recent years. We saw [Robert] Guerrero and [Yoshihiro] Kamegai, which was a tremendous, tremendous fight [on June 21]. When putting this event together, the StubHub Center was the first choice. The fact that you have no local fighters does not matter.

"I feel that the fans in Los Angeles who will be attending are just accustomed to watching some great fights no matter where they're from, and the fact that the fighters will be performing at the StubHub Center, there's a bit of added pressure for every single fighter because you must perform. It reminds me kind of like the 'Thunderdome' movie with Mel Gibson. I mean, you have to fight there, you have to. The atmosphere is great. The fans are expecting great fights and I believe this is what Kell Brook and Shawn Porter and every fighter on the card will give us -- a tremendous, tremendous fight."

Indeed, the StubHub Center has been home to some modern classics besides Guerrero-Kamegai. It has also hosted such great fights as Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez I and III (the 2008 fight of the year), Timothy Bradley Jr.-Ruslan Provodnikov (the 2013 fight of the year), Lucas Matthysse-John Molina (a strong 2014 fight of the year contender), Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado I, Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo and Marcos Maidana-Josesito Lopez (on the same card in June 2013) and Paul Williams-Antonio Margarito.

Here's hoping at least one of the fights on Aug. 16 joins that list.
When welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and mandatory challenger Kell Brook agreed to their fight they also agreed to undergo random drug testing -- blood and urine -- that would be overseen by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

However, neither fighter had been tested as of last week, raising questions about what was going on for a fight that is scheduled for Aug. 16 (Showtime) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Even Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya and Porter were a bit confused about what was up with the testing when they spoke to the media on a teleconference about the fight last week, and I asked about the drug testing protocol.

“Well, the drug testing was handled through [Golden Boy vice president] Eric Gomez and through [Porter adviser] Al Haymon,” De La Hoya said. “There is a drug testing in place, which the fighters should already have been taking, and going through the process.”

Porter, however, said he had not yet been tested and was expecting it.

“Well, boxing, you roll with the punches. ... I just know that we are supposed to be testing,” Porter said.

Gomez explained what happened in an email, saying the issue happened because the fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 6 but was moved up to Aug. 16. He also assured that there would be testing over the final few weeks before the fight.

“In order to use USADA, they need at least six weeks to get all the required documents and testing done,” Gomez said. “When the date changed to Aug. 16, there wasn’t enough time. We then, collectively [Golden Boy and Brook promoter Matchroom Boxing], agreed to have the California State Athletic Commission handle the testing. The UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, through the [California] Department of Consumer Affairs, will handle the testing for us. They start testing this week.”

Gomez said the testing would include blood and urine, although he was unsure if it would follow the exact protocol that USADA uses.

Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs), 26, of Akron, Ohio, will be making his second defense when he faces Brook (32-0, 22 KOs), 28, of England.
Welterweight contender Kell Brook isn’t the only British fighter headed to the StubHub Center in Carson, California, to fight on Aug. 16.

Two of his Matchroom Boxing stablemates -- lightweight Luke Campbell and super middleweight Callum Smith -- will be joining him, promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Friday.

Brook, the mandatory challenger, will face world titleholder Shawn Porter in the main event of the Showtime card.

Campbell (6-0, 4 KOs), 26, a 2012 London Olympics gold medalist, and Smith (12-0, 9 KOs), 24, two of England’s best prospects, will both face opponents to be determined.

"I’m delighted to be able to get Luke and Callum their first taste of action in America as pros," Hearn said. "I believe both fighters will be a real hit with both fans and pundits across the pond, and I expect that they will both return there in the future in world-title fights.

"It's all part of the development of our great, young fighters. New experiences, new atmospheres, all part of making them the finished articles. It’s also a great bonus for Kell’s traveling fans to see two rising stars from Britain perform on such a massive stage."

Golden Boy is promoting the card, but undoubtedly part of the deal to avoid a purse bid was for Hearn to get some spots for his fighters on the undercard.

In addition to Porter-Brook, there are two other world-title bouts on the card. Omar Figueroa defends his lightweight belt against Daniel Estrada, and super middleweight titleholder Sakio Bika meets Anthony Dirrell in a rematch of their draw.
Shawn PorterElsa/Golden Boy/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesWelterweight titlist Shawn Porter returns Aug. 16. to face mandatory challenger Kell Brook.

The StubHub Center in Carson, California, which has become one of boxing’s great venues, will host a world title tripleheader on Aug. 16. Although Showtime will televise the event, neither the network nor the promoter, Golden Boy, has made an official announcement of the card yet.

But here is what is on tap:

" Welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) will face mandatory challenger Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) in the main event. It’s a fight that has been moved all over the summer calendar but is now locked in. The IBF, which is sanctioning the fight, has confirmed the date and venue.

The fight will be Porter’s second title defense. He knocked out former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in the fourth round on April 19. Brook has been a mandatory contender for some time and was supposed to challenge then-titlist Devon Alexander, but the fight was called off multiple times due to injuries to both fighters. Brook is coming off an eight-round knockout of Alvaro Robles on March 15.

" Lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs) will make his mandatory defense against Daniel Estrada (32-2-1, 24 KOs) in the co-feature. The sides made a deal for the fight last month and avoided a purse bid, and Golden Boy had been looking for a spot to put it. Figueroa will be making his second title defense after winning a split decision against Jerry Belmontes on April 26. Estrada has not lost since 2010 and is riding a nine-fight winning streak.

" Super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika (32-5-3, 21 KOs) will make his second title defense when he meets Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1, 22 KOs) in a rematch in the opener. They first met in December 2013 and fought to a split draw in a tremendous action fight. Neither man has fought since.

Bika’s camp has announced the fight. He said he was inspired to accept the rematch with Dirrell after attending fellow titleholder Carl Froch’s rematch with George Groves at Wembley Stadium in London on May 31.

“I was impressed by the way Froch handled his unfinished business with George Groves and now I want to do the same with Dirrell,” Bika said. “I felt I won the first fight with Dirrell, and I'm happy my management team has been able to organize a rematch. Dirrell was very lucky to get the draw. I was the busier fighter, throwing and landing the most punches and I dropped him with a body shot which was counted as a low blow. I will be in the best shape of my professional career in August and will show boxing fans around the world that ‘The Dog’ is all bark and no bite. And then I am going after Froch.”
The fight between welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and England's Kell Brook will take place Sept. 6 at an American venue to be determined, Brook's promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN.com on Friday.

[+] EnlargeShawn Porter
Elsa/Golden Boy/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesUnbeaten Shawn Porter will defend his welterweight title against Kell Brook at a venue to be determined.
Hearn said both sides had signed contracts for the mandatory bout, which was originally going to be Aug. 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, before the fight was moved and other bouts were put on the Showtime-televised card.

The Sept. 6 fight is also ticketed for Showtime -- one week before pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. is due to return to action on Sept. 13 (opponent to be announced) on Showtime PPV, and the network always likes to have a card the week before his pay-per-view fights to help promote it.

A few weeks ago Hearn and Golden Boy made a deal on the fight, avoiding a purse bid.

Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) won the title by unanimous decision against Devon Alexander in December and he made his first defense on April 19, dominating former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in a ruthless fourth-round knockout.

Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) has been a mandatory contender for some time and was supposed to challenge Alexander but the fight was called off multiple times due to injuries to both fighters. Brook is coming off an eight-round knockout of Alvaro Robles on March 15.

Porter-Brook headed to Aug. 9

June, 11, 2014
Jun 11
2:43
PM ET
Despite Richard Schaefer’s resignation as Golden Boy Promotions CEO last week those at the company say it’s business as usual.

There are fights to arrange and cards to promote. President Oscar De La Hoya, fresh off his Sunday induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, is coming into the office regularly and working on events.

The company is promoting a June 21 Showtime tripleheader at the StubHub Center in Carson, California -- welterweight Robert Guerrero’s return against Yoshihiro Kamegai, Vasyl Lomachenko against Gary Russell Jr. for a vacant featherweight title and former welterweight titlist Devon Alexander against Jesus Soto Karass -- and also working on other events later in the summer.

One date in the works is tentatively an Aug. 9 Showtime card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

One of the fights ticketed for that show is welterweight titlist Shawn Porter’s mandatory defense against England’s Kell Brook. Golden Boy and Brook promoter Eddie Hearn reached an agreement and a purse bid scheduled for last week was canceled, according to the IBF and Golden Boy vice president and matchmaker Eric Gomez.

“We have a verbal agreement, but there are still some little issues,” Gomez told ESPN.com. “But we have enough of an agreement that (the IBF) was comfortable enough to call off the purse bid. The date we’re shooting for is Aug. 9 but that could change. We have to dot our I’s and cross our T’s but everything is moving in the right direction.”

Several other potential bouts have been mentioned as possibilities for the card. One of them is a fight between Daniel Jacobs of Brooklyn, New York and Jarrod Fletcher of Australia for a vacant secondary middleweight title (since Gennady Golovkin was made a “super champion” by an organization).

Junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia has also been mentioned for the card as has junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson. (No, they are not fighting each other.)

But Garcia could also wind up fighting in September instead, according to Gomez.

Golden Boy also has addressed the mandatory defense of lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa against Daniel Estrada. A purse bid had been scheduled for June 6 in Mexico City, but Gomez said the sides made a deal.

“We have a deal in place but no date just yet,” he said.

Porter ordered to face Brook

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
4:58
PM ET
Barely 24 hours after welterweight titlist Shawn Porter destroyed former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in the fourth round of a brutal, efficient and impressive performance to retain his belt for the first time on Saturday night at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C., he was put on notice about his mandatory defense.

[+] EnlargeShawn Porter
Elsa/Golden Boy/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesShawn Porter has 90 days to defend his IBF title against fellow unbeaten Kell Brook.
The IBF, which sanctions the belt Porter holds, sent a letter on Monday to Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) and Golden Boy Promotions, ordering his mandatory against England's Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs).

"Congratulations on your win over Paulie Malignaggi last Saturday, April 19, 2014 at the DC Armory in Washington, DC in an optional defense of the IBF welterweight championship," IBF championship chairman Lindsey Tucker wrote. "We wish you all the best for a long and illustrious career as the IBF welterweight champion.

"The IBF granted Golden Boy Promotions an exception to regulations for the Porter vs. Malignaggi fight. One of the conditions of the exception is that the winner must fight the leading available contender within 90 days. The leading available contender is No. 1 Kell Brook. ... Negotiations should commence immediately and be concluded by May 21, 2014. In the event that you are unable to come to an amiable agreement with Brook, the IBF will call for a purse bid."

The IBF furthe r ordered that neither Porter nor Brook can take another fight until the mandatory is completed. If Porter did, he would be stripped of the title. If Brook did, he would lose his mandatory status.

Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said he plans to discuss the Porter fight, among other topics, with Porter adviser Al Haymon when they are both in Las Vegas next week for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana fight.

It remains to be seen whether Schaefer and Eddie Hearn, Brook's promoter, can make a deal.

Bellew, Brook have a lot at stake

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
10:19
AM ET
Two of England’s top fighters, cruiserweight Tony Bellew and welterweight Kell Brook, both face important fights on Saturday at Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Bellew, moving up in weight from light heavyweight, is seeking to get back on track after getting bombed out in a one-sided sixth-round knockout loss challenging light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson on Nov. 30.

Bellew (20-2-1, 12 KOs) will face Russia’s Valery Brudov (41-4, 28 KOs), a former interim titlist with vast experience, in the main event. Bellew needs a victory in order to establish himself in a new division and also to reignite his career after such a nasty defeat.

“I am coming into an exciting division with established world champions, and I am hoping to make my mark in this division,” Bellew said. “My two goals in boxing are to earn a living for me and my kids, and to become a world champion. I will go in with Valery Brudov, who has had 45 fights and 41 wins, 28 by knockout -- he has had more knockouts than I have had fights. He has a good record, he is a good fighter, and this is a dangerous fight, make no mistake. But if I am going to be anything in the cruiserweight division I have to beat this guy and look good beating him.

“It is a test, and it should let me and everybody else know where I am in the cruiserweight division. This is a new chapter, a new beginning for me. It is up to me to pick up the pieces, work hard, and get to where I was at light heavyweight as a cruiserweight. I have always thought about fighting at cruiserweight, but I had always had the attitude that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. I have to earn my shot now, the way I did at light heavyweight. I have to show I am a top cruiserweight and an A-level fighter. I believe I am, but there is no point me saying that, it is better for me to get in there and prove that.”

While Bellew is trying to rebound, Brook is trying to stay the course knowing that he is one win away from a world title opportunity. He is already the mandatory challenger for titleholder Shawn Porter but both have interim bouts before they are expected to fight later this year, assuming they both win.

Brook (31-0, 21 KOs) will look to stay sharp in what is supposed to be a stay-busy fight with Alvaro Robles (17-2, 15 KOs) of Mexico. There’s always a danger though that something could go drastically wrong, even if Brook is the heavy favorite.

“This is his world title fight so he is going to be game,” Brook said. “He will be very, very tough, and he will want to take my head off. I am looking forward to the opportunity to get in there and show what I do, and that is knock people out. It is a very important fight. It is a banana-skin fight, and it is important because if I don’t win this there is no big one to follow.

“At the beginning of my training for this fight I thought it might be hard to get motivated, but that hasn’t been the case. I have been very motivated for the fight and I think it is your instinct as an athlete, as a fighter, to beat your gym-mates in the gym and on runs, and get your personal best out of everything. I have found the willpower and determination, and I will put on a great display on Saturday night.”

Bellew headlines stacked UK card

January, 22, 2014
Jan 22
11:49
AM ET
England’s Tony Bellew got wiped out in a sixth-round knockout loss against light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson on Nov. 30. Like so many fighters before him, a big loss means one thing: moving up in weight.

That is what Bellew is doing for his next fight. He is headed for cruiserweight to face Russia’s Valery Brudov (41-4, 28 KOs), a former interim titlist with vast experience.

They will meet at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, on March 15, Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn announced Tuesday.

Bellew (20-2-1, 12 KOs) is just one of several notable fighters appearing on the show.

Welterweight contender Kell Brook (31-0, 21 KOs) and lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell (36-2, 26 KOs) are also scheduled to compete as they stay busy moving toward world title opportunities. Neither has an opponent yet.

Brook is the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Shawn Porter, but both will have interim bouts, Brook on this card and Porter likely in an optional defense in April (perhaps against Keith Thurman). If Brook wins the March 15 fight, he is supposed to get the title shot by June.

Three of the fighting Smith brothers are also slated to see action. Junior lightweight Stephen Smith (18-1, 11 KOs) will probably face Fernando David Saucedo (51-5-3, 7 KOs) of Argentina in an eliminator.

British super middleweight champion Paul Smith will defend on the card against an opponent to be determined. Also, super middleweight Callum Smith (9-0, 7 Kos), the youngest of the brothers, will see action.

Commonwealth super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding (17-0, 10 KOs) is supposed to face fellow Liverpool native Tony Dodson (29-8-1, 14 KOs), who is coming off a knockout loss to Paul Smith on June 29. Dodson needs to first win a fight scheduled for Feb. 22.

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