Kell Brook makes the first defence of his IBF world welterweight title at the Motorpoint Arena in his hometown of Sheffield on Saturday 28th March against Canadian based Romanian challenger Ionut Dan Ion AKA Jo Jo Dan.
It’s a much used cliché but it has never been a more applicable metaphor than in the case of ‘Special K’, who has been on the most dramatic of life’s rollercoasters in recent times. Rarely do people experience such extreme ends of the spectrum in such close proximity. Just a matter of weeks after realising his lifelong dream to become a world champion by beating highly rated American Shawn Porter in his own backyard in Carson , California, Kell Brook’s career was plunged into jeopardy. He was attacked by a machete wielding assailant on the Spanish island of Tenerife whilst on holiday. You just can’t script such events.
Fast forward on a few months and Kell Brook has not only made a full recovery but is now set to defend his world title in his hometown of Sheffield and the fight fans will no doubt be out in force to give the champion a rapturous ovation. In Jo Jo Dan he faces a hungry challenger who as the underdog has little to lose going into the fight.
The 33-year old Romanian ranked at 19th in the world rankings has fought predominantly in Canada for the duration of his professional career and has built up a strong record of 34 wins with just 2 losses. However Brook represents a big step up in class for him. Looking through the opponents on his fight record, their are only a few fighters, if any, that can be considered as close to world level operators. American veteran Steve Forbes stands out as one of the best opponents he has faced but he only won that fight via a technical decision after an accidental clash of heads in round 6 opened up a bad cut above the left eye of Forbes. The ringside doctor subsequently brought an immediate end to proceedings and the bout was sent to the scorecards and he was awarded the victory. He has also edged past the previously unbeaten Canadian fighter Kevin Brazier on two occasions via split decisions but these boxers are not on the same level as Kell Brook.
Brook has the greater strength and punching power. He also happens to be in one of the most lucrative and competitive divisions in the sport and he has a whole host of prospective fights on the horizon if he completes the job on Saturday night. Big unification fights against the likes of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao have been mentioned as has a huge domestic dust up with fellow British star Amir ‘King’ Khan. The fight will also be broadcast live on American TV network Showtime which means he has another great opportunity to impress the American audience by winning in a emphatic and convincing style.
There is a danger that he has been affected by those recent traumatic events though. We have seen before in his first encounter against Carson Jones that if he isn’t 100 percent mentally focused and physically prepared that he can look vulnerable. However there is also a danger for Jo Jo Dan that his adversities have only strengthened his resolve and given him a deeper appreciation for life and his position as a world champion. If that is the case which it likely is then there is a really good chance that he could be te first man to stop Jo Jo Dan and he and all the fight fans can start looking ahead to some huge welterweight showdowns in the summer.
Kell Brook: W33 KO22 L0 KO-0 KO%: 66.67
Jo Jo Dan: W34 KO18 L2 KO-0 KO%: 50