Dan Rafael: Kell Brook

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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Brook needs one win for title shot

October, 23, 2013
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Welterweight contender Kell Brook has been here before, needing one more win to get a world title shot.

He got that win last October by knocking out Hector Saldivia in the third round of a final eliminator. That set Brook up for a mandatory world title shot against Devon Alexander, and they were due to meet in May in Atlantic City, N.J. However, about a month before the fight, Brook withdrew because of a stress fracture in his foot.

It was the third time the fight had been derailed by injuries to either Brook or Alexander, and this time it was canceled altogether.

Bye-bye, world title shot.

Alexander went on to fight somebody else -- Brook’s stablemate Lee Purdy -- and when Brook was healed, he returned in July, stopping Carson Jones in the eighth round of a rematch of their fierce 2012 fight.

Now Brook again finds himself in a similar position when he faces former welterweight titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine on Saturday (AWE, 3 p.m. ET) at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown. A win will put Brook back into the mandatory position to fight the Nov. 30 winner between Alexander and challenger Shawn Porter.

In the 36-year-old Senchenko (34-1, 23 KOs), Brook is facing a tough opponent who came to England two fights ago, last November, and knocked out British star Ricky Hatton in the ninth round, derailing Hatton’s comeback from a 3-year retirement.

But Brook (30-0, 20 KOs), 27, is aiming not only to beat Senchenko, but to do it in the kind of style that will get people pumped for him to challenge for a world title.

“I want to do a demolition job on him, put on a great performance and really have fun in my hometown,” Brook said. “He's been over to promote the fight, and that shows he's confident. He's coming here to win and to get a second shot at a world title. It’s always good to get a look at your opponent ahead of a fight, get a feel of what his chin might be like.

“He seemed confident and his team are used to winning. He's got a good amateur background and he almost had a bit of a swagger about him when I saw him at the press conference, and like he did when he beat Ricky Hatton. But it's a whole different story going in there with me, and he's going to realize that really quickly on Saturday. The public know that this is a real fight and that's why it's going to be buzzing in the arena when I walk into the ring.”

Senchenko’s only defeat came when he lost his belt at home in Ukraine to Paulie Malignaggi via ninth-round, cut-induced stoppage in April 2012.

“I need to make a statement,” Brook said. “He's a world-class fighter, and he only lost his title on a cut. They don't give world titles out for nothing. He's proved he deserves to be at the top.

“I've put the miles in on the road and taken myself out of my comfort zone. I left my partner and my little girl at home, so I've trained very hard and we've taken this very, very seriously. As long as we get the end result, a win and one in style, all the hard work is more than worth it.”

Hatton offers advice to Brook

October, 17, 2013
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If anybody knows how effective former welterweight titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine can be, it’s Ricky Hatton, the retired British star and two-division titleholder.

After getting brutally knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in the second round in 2009, Hatton retired but made a comeback last November to face Senchenko.

Senchenko, who had lost his world title to Paulie Malignaggi via ninth-round, cut-induced knockout in April 2012 in Ukraine, went to Hatton’s hometown of Manchester and Hatton looked pretty good early. He was winning through eight rounds, but then Senchenko cut down Hatton with a left hand to the body in the ninth round. Knocked out for the second consecutive fight, Hatton announced his retirement again after the fight.

Now Senchenko (34-1, 23 KOs) is headed back to England to take on welterweight contender Kell Brook (30-0, 20 KOs) on Oct. 26 at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Brook’s hometown. Hatton has a little advice for Brook.

"He's a lot tougher than he looks," Hatton said of Senchenko. "He's a tall boxer-type but he's not a skilful boxer. Kell is a really good boxer and Paulie showed that Vyacheslav can be outboxed. So if Kell chooses to box him rather than go to war with him, like I did, and picks his moments when to put it to him, I think he will do the business."

The card also includes England's Brian Rose (24-1-1, 7 KOs) facing Argentina's Javier Maciel (27-2, 20 KOs) in a junior middleweight final elimination bout and 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Anthony Joshua (1-0, 1 KO) in second professional fight.

Sky, Matchroom extend UK TV deal

October, 4, 2013
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In a major boxing television deal announced Friday, Great Britain’s Sky Sports, a subscription sports network that has been involved in boxing for many years, extended its deal with promoter Matchroom Sport.

Matchroom Sport has been the exclusive provider of fights cards to the network for the past few years and will continue to be for the next two years -- and 40 shows -- under the terms of the deal. The extension commences in June, Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn announced.

“I'm delighted to announce a new two-year extension to our existing contract with Sky Sports, which will see us as the principle promoter on the channel to summer 2016,” Hearn said in a statement. “We have developed one of the strongest stables ever seen in world boxing and the extension gives us the perfect platform to grow our team and provide them all with the ultimate opportunity to achieve within the sport.

“Sky shares our passion and vision for the sport and is a perfect partner as we look to grow boxing significantly over the next few years. It’s exciting times for an exciting sport and we have some mouth-watering plans to share with Sky Sports viewers.”

Because Hearn has the exclusivity of the Sky platform, it has allowed him to sign many top fighters and put on the bulk of Britain’s major fights over the past few years, including those involving Carl Froch, Ricky Burns, Darren Barker, Scot Quigg, Tony Bellew and Kell Brook. It has also been a key reason he has been able to sign top prospects seeking the necessary exposure to become known to the public, including Olympic gold medalists Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell.

Said Adam Smith, executive producer of boxing, “We are confident fight fans will continue to enjoy the very best quality, innovation and excitement on Sky Sports.”

The deal also allows Hearn to make deals to secure international fights, including some of the major United States fights, such as next week’s Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez bout, Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov on Oct. 19 and the Nov. 2 fight between Gennady Golovkin and Curtis Stevens.

Sky’s only real competition in the boxing market comes from all-boxing subscription network BoxNation, although it is in far fewer homes than Sky.

Jennings in line for Adamek?

July, 25, 2013
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Tomasz AdamekAP Photo/Gregory PayanIf Tomasz Adamek gets past Dominick Guinn on Aug. 3, unbeaten Bryant Jennings might be next.
Here are a few things I've heard in recent days:

• If heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek beats Dominick Guinn on Aug. 3, promoter Main Events would like to match him with the up-and-coming Bryant Jennings in a very interesting, and surely crowd-pleasing fight. Main Events has talked to HBO about the bout but so far the network has been non-committal to the fight. For my money, that's a really good fight that could show us if Jennings is a contender or a pretender.

• Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine, one of the most decorated amateur fighters in history, is close to a deal with Top Rank to go pro. He won Olympic featherweight gold in 2008 and lightweight gold in 2012. He is also a two-time world amateur champ (2009 and 2011).

• Lightweight Jorge Linares, a former junior lightweight and featherweight titlist, still trying to recover from terrible back-to-back stoppage losses to Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson in 2011 and 2012, will return Aug. 25 in Tokyo. The Venezuela native, who has won two in a row, fought much of his career in Japan and will be appearing on the undercard of the pro debut of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata, who faces Akio Shibata in a six-round middleweight bout.

• Golden Boy got an offer from British promoter Eddie Hearn for welterweight Julio Diaz to face Kell Brook in his next fight in England. But Golden Boy said that Diaz, known to the British fans for giving Amir Khan such a tough fight in April, turned the fight down.

Jones seeks revenge from Brook

July, 10, 2013
7/10/13
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Kell Brook and Carson JonesMatchroom BoxingCarson Jones, right, has no problem going back into Kell Brook's hometown for Saturday's rematch.
Junior middleweight Carson Jones is so confident he will even the score by beating England's Kell Brook in their rematch that he:

• Agreed to raise the contract weight from 150 pounds to 152 pounds because Brook, who usually fights at welterweight, was having problems with his weight.

• Took far less money for the second fight than he made for their first bout last July.

• Didn't hesitate to return to England for the fight, even though he lost a majority decision there in their grueling first encounter.

Jones (35-9-3, 25 KOs), 26, of Oklahoma City, Okla., and the 27-year-old Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) meet again on Saturday (Sky Sports HD1 in the United Kingdom) at Craven Park in Hull, England on the card headlined by the pro debut of Hull's Luke Campbell, the 2012 British Olympic bantamweight gold medalist.

"I had Kell in all kinds of problems in [his hometown of] Sheffield but he got away with it," said Jones, who broke Brook's nose in the eighth round and had him in serious trouble late in the fight. "I took four or five rounds to get started, but as soon as I did it was popping. This time I'll be on him from the start and there will be no escape route for him this time. I want that world title shot just as much as he does.

"Everybody keeps making excuses saying that he had stamina problems. He didn't have stamina problems, he had a Carson Jones problem. I was pressing him, hitting him with clean shots, I broke his nose in the eighth round and from then on it was pretty much my fight. I don't have a problem coming over here. I've been to his hometown before, and I've been to other people's backyards and taken home the victory. When it comes down to it, it's just me and him fighting whether it's his hometown or mine, it's not going to change the outcome. He's never had anybody up in his face before, and he really didn't know how to react to it. He looked a little scared to me."

Brook was supposed to have challenged welterweight world titleholder Devon Alexander in a mandatory fight but it was delayed three times and eventually canceled altogether because of various injuries to the two fighters. When Brook suffered a stress fracture, their most recent date, May 18 in Atlantic City, N.J., was canceled.

Alexander wound up knocking out late replacement (and Brook promotional stablemate) Lee Purdy while Brook took this rematch with Jones a couple of months later.

"I'm even more fired up to get rid of him now," Brook said. "He's very cocky for someone who has never beaten anyone of note, and this time I'll knock him out and send him home for good. He won't want to come back after Saturday night. The first fight has been bugging me ever since I got back in the dressing room afterwards. He was at 100 percent for that fight and put in the best performance of his career. I was nowhere near full throttle but I am as close to the best Kell Brook I've ever been and he'll be out of my life for good on Saturday night.

"I could have had an easier opponent but the last fight was an exciting, mouthwatering fight and I think the fans deserve it. It is going to be a tough fight and I am training hard for it but I am going to go out there and have fun and take care of business. It is going to be a great night, there will be fireworks and I am very excited to get back in and I can't wait to take my frustrations out on Carson Jones."

Ward seeking split from Goossen

June, 19, 2013
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Super middleweight champion Andre Ward is seeking to end his promotional contract with career-long promoter Dan Goossen for unspecified reasons. Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) recently asked the California State Athletic Commission for an arbitration hearing on the matter. Word through the boxing industry is that Ward, who has not fought since September and is out until the fall because of a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, wants to sign with Top Rank to ensure a money fight with former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Goossen declined comment to ESPN.com and Ward did not respond to a message.

• Junior lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno of Las Vegas has hired trainer Joel Diaz, who also serves as the head trainer for welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. Magdaleno will train with Diaz in the Palm Springs, Calif., area. After losing a split decision challenging titleholder Rocky Martinez on April 6 in Macau, Magdaleno parted ways with career-long trainer and manager Pat Barry, who still trains and manages younger brother Jessie Magdaleno (14-0, 10 KOs), a top junior featherweight prospect. Diego Magdaleno (23-1, 9 KOs), 26, replaced Barry on the management end with Frank Espinoza last month before getting together with Diaz on the training end.

• Although welterweight contender Kell Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) of England made several remarks this week about how everything is going well in his preparation for a rematch against Oklahoma City’s Carson Jones (35-9-3, 25 KOs) on July 13 in Hull, England, Brook promoter Eddie Hearn acknowledged that he asked the Jones camp to amend the contract weight for the fight from 150 pounds to 152 because of weight issues. They are related to the fact Brook was limited in his workouts early in training camp because he was still recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot. The injury is what caused Brook to withdraw from a May 18 mandatory shot at welterweight titlist Devon Alexander. “I don't want to put too much pressure on him to make the weight and he was restricted early in camp because of [his] foot,” Hearn said. “Can see a move to 154 soon.” Jones manager Bobby Dobbs said their side rejected the push for the heavier weight.

• Light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins, no longer training for his canceled July 13 mandatory defense against Karo Murat, will fill in some of his free time by serving as the guest commentator Saturday on Showtime’s telecast (9 p.m. ET) headlined by the Paulie Malignaggi-Adrien Broner welterweight title bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Hopkins will be filling in for Malignaggi, the regular Showtime expert commentator.

• Mercito Gesta suffered a rib injury in a sparring session and withdrew from a July 19 ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” main event against junior welterweight contender Olusegun Ajose (31-1, 14 KOs). Ajose will still headline, but promoter Lou DiBella said he and ESPN are still working on a replacement opponent. Gesta (21-1-1, 14 KOs) was moving up to junior welterweight in the wake of a lopsided loss to lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez in December.

Brook bullish on Jones rematch

June, 17, 2013
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Jones/BrookPaul Thomas/Getty ImagesKell Brook, right, is excited about a rematch with Carson Jones after last July's first scrap.
Welterweight contender Kell Brook believes his injury issues are behind him and he is looking forward to returning to action when he faces Carson Jones in a rematch on July 13 at the outdoor Craven Park rugby stadium in Hull, England.

England's Brook had been slated to face world titleholder Devon Alexander as the mandatory challenger in Atlantic City, N.J., on May 18, the third date the fight had been set for because of previous postponements. But the fight was canceled altogether when Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) suffered a stress fracture in his right foot during training and had to pull out.

Alexander wound up hammering replacement (and Brook's promotional teammate) Lee Purdy while Brook was sidelined. Brook was then lined up to face Jones (35-9-3, 25 KOs) of Oklahoma City in a rematch of their brutal fight from last July when, fighting in his hometown of Sheffield, Brook won a 12-round majority decision in a semifinal title elimination fight that got him one step away from what became the aborted title shot against Alexander.

"It has been very frustrating," Brook said. "I have never really had an injury in my whole career, and then just before the biggest fight of my life it happens to come along. It was horrible and I was absolutely gutted about it.

"Without a doubt, it was the hardest thing I have had to go through in my boxing career. I have always wanted to be a world champion and when I got a world title fight, it got taken away from me and it was out of my hands. It was so frustrating. I couldn't watch Alexander versus Lee Purdy, I couldn't do it. Knowing that I should have been in there that night, I couldn't sit down and watch it."

Brook said he is past the disappointment now and looking forward to facing Jones again.

"I am on to the next chapter in my boxing career now and I am looking forward to having fun on July 13," Brook said. "Step by step, we will get to where I have wanted to get all of my life and all of my career. I am looking forward to Hull, I am excited and I cannot wait. Big things will come from me. I am going to make a statement in this fight and I am going to carry on from there.

"I could have had an easier opponent, but the last fight was an exciting, mouth-watering fight, and I think the fans deserve it. It is going to be a tough fight and I am training hard for it, but I am going to go out there and have fun and take care of business."

Brook-Jones II is on the card (televised by Sky Sports in the United Kingdom) headlined by the pro debut of Hull native Luke Campbell, who became the first British boxer to win a bantamweight Olympic gold medal in more than 100 years when he did it in London last summer.

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