Kell Brook is crowned the new IBF Welterweight champion at the StubHub Center in Carson California in an efficient performance. Anthony Dirrell is crowned the new WBC Super Middleweight champion in an emotional effort. But, Omar Figueroa stole the show Saturday night in my view. The Stub Hub Center hosted another intriguing card which will help us all survey the landscape of the fight game.
Coming all the way from the Sheffield United Kingdom Kell Brook was rated #30 pound for pound a couple of months ago on my top 30 Top of the Food Chain list, but he will be moving up fast. Now the new Welterweight champ leaves the west coast to go back across the sea a lot more popular in the states than previously thought of. Kell Brook boxed well staying poised picking his spots to get off. Shawn Porter was aggressive, but he could not get accurate shots to land clean. Brook was able to deal with Porter’s assertive style in a manner which seemed poised and smart. Porter (24-1-1 15 kos) looked spry, but Brook put the cleaner punches together controlling the length in which the fight was fought. Anything in close range Brook tied Porter up.
Brook worked off of that stiff jab and moved off of his back foot to avoid any big punches from Porter and his forward moving nature. To me Brook looked like he knew what Porter was going to do before he did it. Brook proved to be strong enough to hold off Porter while avoiding a lot of damage. Porter’s body work was effective until the clinches, but to the judges it was not enough. Both fighters were cut by accidental head butts, but they worked through it.
It is not a bad loss for Porter, but it is a setback for the former IBF Welterweight champ. The final tallies were 117-111, 116-112, and 114-114. Kell Brook (33-0 22 kos) now has options awaiting him. In the crowded Welterweight division we will see his next move. Somebody had to lose whether you thought it was the aggressive Porter, or the efficient Brook somebody’s 0 had to go.
Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1 22 kos) outclassed Sakio Bika (32-6-3) in the rematch of their first encounter. This was an ugly fight, but Dirrell was sharper and determined. He stayed off of the ropes, and he did not let Bika bully him into a brawl. Dirrell established a line in the sand from the opening bell.
Dirrell came out throwing big shots, and I think that garnered Bika’s respect early even though a lot of punches did not land flush they were effective. It was a fight that both men came out rather sloppy, but it settled down late. Congrats to Anthony Dirrell and his long struggle back to the top after surviving his cancer bout. He is finally the champ taking the strap from a rough thirty five year old Sakio Bika who has fought Andre Ward and Joe Calzaghe respectably.
In the co-feature let me just say congrats to Omar Figueroa (24-0-1 18 kos). He bought the fight to Daniel Estrada (32-3-1 24 kos), and Estrada from the beginning was game. Figueroa has a fan friendly fight style eating and rolling punches by turning his head at the point of impact taking some of the sting off of them while he continued to walk forward.
You could tell it was just a matter of time, but Estrada did not stop landing some admirable punches opening up Figueroa. With a sense of desperation that the fight would be stopped early due to a cut suffered by Figueroa, so he went out and stopped it himself like a true fighter should. Figueroa was entertaining, dominant and impressive. One thing is for certain I have never seen him in a boring fight. He will be moving up to 140lbs Jr. Welterweight, so the Jorge Linares fight probably will not happen at 135lbs.
Overall, it was a good night. Kell Brook was more precise than Shawn Porter, Anthony Dirrell and Omar Figueroa emerge.