Errol Spence Jr. traveled a few thousand miles across the Atlantic Ocean and he did so to etch his name in boxing’s history books. The Texan climbed into the ring in front of 25,000-plus rabid fans to challenge defending IBF welterweight world champion Kell Brook in the main event of Showtime Championship Boxing on Saturday night; Spence made sure he didn't exit the ring without the belt.
Spence used his trademark body assault early and often to soften up the champ, a move that paid dividends late in the bout. With virtually everybody in attendance inside historic Bramall Lane Football Grounds in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England, Spence took everything the champ gave and returned the favor tenfold. Even when 27-year-old Spence was getting railed by the Brit’s pesky left jab and sneaky lead rights, he never lost focus or detracted from his gameplan.
Spence raked his foe with lead lefts and accurate jabs from his southpaw stance and, coupled with his relentless attack to the guts, systematically broke Brook down. Both men were buzzed a few times in the early stages of the fight, but “The Truth” seized total control in the seventh by rocking the champ with a right-left to the head. Brook quickly recovered, but the battle was out of his hands at the point and he never recovered.
Brook tried his best to continuously turn the tides back in his favor, but he was gradually wilting under the pressure that Spence applied. A brilliant combo of punches to the body and head sent Brook to the canvas midway through the 10th and the American nearly took him out moments later with follow-up salvos to the head. The crowd willed Brook back into the fight and he fought toe-to-toe with the younger lion until the bell saved him. However, things unraveled in the first championship round.
With his left eye a swollen mess, Brook retreated constantly in the 11th. Spence charged after him and threw dozens of rights to the target, forcing “Special K” to back off. When Brook had enough space to breathe, though, he pawed at his eye, repeatedly blinked and shook his head. Spence, tasting blood in the proverbial water, circled him like a shark and dove in for the kill. After another flurry of punches ricocheted off the champ’s head, Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) backed away for good and took a knee. From there, he was counted out by the referee.
The official time of the knockout came at 1:47 of the 11th, allowing Spence to claim his first-ever world title. Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) was ahead on points by all three judges at the time of the stoppage (97-92, 96-93, 95-94) and proceeded to call out reigning WBC and WBA 147-pound king Keith Thurman, stating that he wants to fight “One Time” next in an effort to unify the welterweight titles.