Saturday, December 17, 2011
Updated: December 18, 9:08 AM ET
Kell Brook TKOs Luis Galarza
By Dan Rafael
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Welterweight contender Kell Brook has been impressing fans in England and is closing in on a title opportunity, but he also wants to make a name for himself in the United States.
That's why promoter Eddie Hearn added Brook, a stablemate of Carl Froch's, to the undercard of Froch's super middleweight unification fight against Andre Ward in the final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic on Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall.
With Showtime television executives and plenty of American media and fans watching, Brook roughed up and stopped Luis Galarza of Antioch, Tenn., in the fifth round of a dominant performance.
Brook (26-0, 18 KOs), a 25-year-old nicknamed "Special K," had an easy night of it. He took it to the tough but limited Galarza with little issue.
In the fifth round, Brook landed multiple heavy rights and lefts as Galarza (18-3, 14 KOs) retreated to the ropes, prompting referee Alan Huggins to step in and stop it at 1 minute, 38 seconds.
"I've always boxed in Britain, so to have been here on a massive show is a great feeling, and I'm ready to come here again," Brook said. "You'll be seeing me here again, and there will be an even better performance."
Brook landed 144 of 327 punches (44 percent), according to CompuBox statistics, in what was basically target practice, while Galarza landed just 32 of 218 blows (15 percent).
"Boxing fans all around the world are watching this, and I've hit a new audience now," Brook said. "They've just seen a good performance from me, but I can and will be giving them more in 2012. There's no rush to a world title. It's about being brought on at the right place, and I trust Eddie Hearn and the team to get me there the right way. I've only a matter of time."
Brook was coming off the most significant victory of his career, a sixth-round knockout of perennial contender Rafal Jackiewicz, who had never previously been stopped, in October.
• Houston's Cornelius White (18-1-1, 15 KOs) scored an upset six-round decision win against former Cuban amateur star Yordanis Despaigne (9-2, 4 KOs) in a light heavyweight bout. All three judges had it for White, 60-53, 59-55 and 59-55. An accidental head-butt opened cuts on both of them in the second round -- Despaigne on his hairline and White over his left eye. By the time the fight was over, they were both covered in blood.
The loss is a big setback for Despaigne, who was due to face Edison Miranda on ESPN2/ESPN3's "Friday Night Fights" on Feb. 2 in a rematch of Despaigne's controversial fifth-round disqualification victory in July. That bout now appears up in the air, although Miranda won his undercard bout.
• Miranda (35-6, 30 KOs), a former middleweight and super middleweight title challenger, stopped Tampa, Fla.-based Kenya native Kariz Kariuki (24-10-2, 19 KOs) in the fifth round. The fight was competitive until the fifth round, when Miranda, who suffered a cut on top of his head in the third round from an accidental head-butt, unloaded.
Miranda dropped Kariuki with a right hand, knocking out his mouthpiece. Kariuki beat the count but was badly dazed. However, referee Alan Huggins restarted the fight without replacing his mouthpiece or realizing how badly hurt Kariuki was. Kariuki was looking at Huggins when Miranda dashed across the ring and floored him again with another punch, but Huggins stunningly called it a slip. Then he called time and replaced the mouthpiece.
Miranda went right after him and was pounding Kariuki around the ring, and after he landed a thunderous right hand, Huggins stepped in at 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Kariuki saw his three-fight winning streak come to an end.
• Los Angeles-based heavyweight Bowie Tupou (22-1, 16 KOs) of Tonga lumbered to a unanimous decision against Donnell Holmes (33-2-2, 29 KOs) of Ivanhoe, N.C., in a slow-paced fight. Tupou, who won 96-93, 95-94 and 95-94, scored a knockdown on an overhand right in the seventh round in the only notable action of the bout.
• Heavyweight John Lennox (8-1, 4 KOs) scored a massive third-round knockout of fellow New Jersey fighter Jeremiah Witherspoon (2-2, 1 KOs), stopping him with a series of heavy blows at 50 seconds.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.