Kell Brook is fighting for his future when he faces Michael Zerafa on Saturday night at the Sheffield Arena, England. Kell Brook attempts to re-ignite his career against Michael Zerafa. One more loss could signal the end of his career. A victory could mean a title shot. As hometown hero and former IBF World Welterweight Champion Kell Brook takes on Michael Zerafa of Australia.
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The 32-year-old Brook lost his welterweight title to American Errol Spence when he was knocked out in the 11th round in May of 2017. He was also stopped in the fight before that when he moved up to middleweight to take on former WBA, IBF, IBO and WBC Champion Gennady Golovkin in a title fight in September of 2016 and was stopped in the fifth round. He also suffered facial injuries in the losses to Spence and Golovkin.
He put up an entertaining fight against Golovkin even though he moved up two weight divisions, but ultimately ended up with a broken orbital bone for his efforts. His fight against Spence was also an exciting one and he’s now looking for another win to get his confidence and career back on the right track as he’s supposed to meet fellow Englishman and former world champion Amir Khan next year. Brook will enter the ring on Saturday with a record of 37-2 along with with 27 Kos.
Brook won his IBF title in August of 2014 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California with an impressive majority-decision win over former champ Shawn Porter of America. He then sat out a few months after he was stabbed with a machete in the leg during an attack while on holiday in Tenerife. He’s certainly not the biggest junior middleweight around as he stands 5-feet-9-inches tall with a 69-inch reach.
Brook turned pro back in 2004 and has fought 197 rounds since then. Before beating Porter, Brook was a former British Welterweight Champion. His biggest fights up until then were against the likes of Philip Kotey, Lovemore NDou, Matthew Hatton and Carson Jones. As far as power goes, Brook isn’t really known as much of a big hitter, but his current knockout ratio stands at 67 per cent per cent and his power is slightly underrated. He also owns a pretty good chin despite the outcome of the Golovkin and Spence bouts. He can fight on the back foot as well as going forward.
As for Zerafa, he’s a relative unknown, but was stopped by former world champion Peter Quillin in the fifth round in September of 2015 on a nationally-televised bout in North America. Zerafa climbs into the ring with a mark of 25-2 along with 14 Kos. He’s fought 162 rounds since turning pro back in 2011. Zerafa isn’t a big puncher and owns a current knockout ratio of 52 per cent. He stands 5-feet-11-inches tall and has a wingspan of 71.5 inches. This gives him a two-inch edge in height and a 2.5-inch reach advantage.
Zerafa’s other career loss was a unanimous decision at the hands of Arif Magomedov back in October of 2014. Zerafa, who hails from Melbourne, has won several regional and minor titles as a pro, but other than Quillin it’s pretty hard to recognize any of his other opponents. So far he’s captured the WBA Oceania, Commonwealth (British Empire), WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental, and Victoria State Light Middleweight Titles as well as the IBF Pan Pacific Middleweight Championship.
There were doubts about what the 32-year-old had left prior to that return after back-to-back stoppage defeats to middleweight monster Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence, both of which were painfully brutal for the loser and looked to be potentially career-shortening beatings.
Unfortunately, the Rabchenko fight didn't tell us much about what Brook has left in the tank at the top level and this outing may not either.
It should be noted that both Zerafa's defeats came up at middleweight so he should be sturdier than Rabchenko down at 154lb and he may be able to match Brook physically.
Zerafa has two-inch height and reach advantages over Brook. Brook is the much better boxer and is more of a power puncher than Zerafa, but Zerafa’s size will give him problems. Even though Zerafa has been stopped once in the past, he should last the entire fight with Brook but will lose a lopsided decision. He hasn’t fought high-quality opponents to ready him for a talent like Brook.