It was a more difficult fight than expected for the Sheffield man
Kell Brook beat Michael Zerafa by unanimous decision on Saturday night in Sheffield, though underwhelmed in doing so.
The 32-year-old became WBA mandatory challenger for unified super-welterweight champion Jarrett Hurd with the victory, however the American won’t be quaking in his boots after watching this bout.
In the early stages, Brook asserted himself well and effectively toyed with his opponent in the first.
The Australian has a bloodied nose within the first three minutes, with most assuming it would be a question of when – not if – the hometown man dispatched of the visitor.
However, as the rounds progressed, Kell’s performance deteriorated drastically.
The downturn started with Zerafa landing a few jabs to gain confidence, before eventually reaching a point where he could hardly miss with his right hand in the middle rounds.
It would be doing Kell Brook an injustice to suggest that he was losing these sessions, as the greater consistency and volume of work was coming from the home corner.
However, he was sloppy throughout the night and even appeared to be buzzed by his opponent in the later stages.
The ninth round contained big moments for Michael Zerafa as he smashed home combinations against a shaky-looking Brook, who also appeared temporarily hurt in the twelfth.
Ultimately the Sheffield man earned a unanimous decision victory (118-110, 119-109, 117-111) in front of his home crowd and put himself in place for potential big fights against either Jarrett Hurd or Amir Khan – if he opts to return to welterweight.
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“A bit rusty,” Brook stated when descibing the bout, “It was just a bit flat tonight, it was one of them.
“I couldn’t let that right hand go, I couldn’t get in a rhythm.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn then chimed in: “If I were Amir Khan now I’d be on the phone, that was below par.
“He knows he has to be a lot better than that, and he will be.”
Earlier in the night, Jono Carroll drew with Guillaume Frenois in their IBF super-featherweight final eliminator, meaning neither earned a world title shot.
Also on the card, Anthony Fowler and Kid Galahad recorded victories, while Josh Kelly was pulled out of his step up with illness and so will now instead meet David Avanesyan in 2019.