Welterweight contender Kell Brook has been here before, needing one more win to get a world title shot.
He got that win last October by knocking out Hector Saldivia in the third round of a final eliminator. That set Brook up for a mandatory world title shot against Devon Alexander, and they were due to meet in May in Atlantic City, N.J. However, about a month before the fight, Brook withdrew because of a stress fracture in his foot.
It was the third time the fight had been derailed by injuries to either Brook or Alexander, and this time it was canceled altogether.
Bye-bye, world title shot.
Alexander went on to fight somebody else -- Brook’s stablemate Lee Purdy -- and when Brook was healed, he returned in July, stopping Carson Jones in the eighth round of a rematch of their fierce 2012 fight.
Now Brook again finds himself in a similar position when he faces former welterweight titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine on Saturday (AWE, 3 p.m. ET) at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown. A win will put Brook back into the mandatory position to fight the Nov. 30 winner between Alexander and challenger Shawn Porter.
In the 36-year-old Senchenko (34-1, 23 KOs), Brook is facing a tough opponent who came to England two fights ago, last November, and knocked out British star Ricky Hatton in the ninth round, derailing Hatton’s comeback from a 3½-year retirement.
But Brook (30-0, 20 KOs), 27, is aiming not only to beat Senchenko, but to do it in the kind of style that will get people pumped for him to challenge for a world title.
“I want to do a demolition job on him, put on a great performance and really have fun in my hometown,” Brook said. “He's been over to promote the fight, and that shows he's confident. He's coming here to win and to get a second shot at a world title. It’s always good to get a look at your opponent ahead of a fight, get a feel of what his chin might be like.
“He seemed confident and his team are used to winning. He's got a good amateur background and he almost had a bit of a swagger about him when I saw him at the press conference, and like he did when he beat Ricky Hatton. But it's a whole different story going in there with me, and he's going to realize that really quickly on Saturday. The public know that this is a real fight and that's why it's going to be buzzing in the arena when I walk into the ring.”
Senchenko’s only defeat came when he lost his belt at home in Ukraine to Paulie Malignaggi via ninth-round, cut-induced stoppage in April 2012.
“I need to make a statement,” Brook said. “He's a world-class fighter, and he only lost his title on a cut. They don't give world titles out for nothing. He's proved he deserves to be at the top.
“I've put the miles in on the road and taken myself out of my comfort zone. I left my partner and my little girl at home, so I've trained very hard and we've taken this very, very seriously. As long as we get the end result, a win and one in style, all the hard work is more than worth it.”