By Terence Dooley
Sheffield's Kell Brook hopes to rip the lid off the city's Motorpoint venue later tonight when meeting Carson Jones in a twelve-round final eliminator for the IBF welterweight title currently held by Randall Bailey - who defends the belt he ripped from Mike Jones against Devon Alexander on September 8. Brook has built up a head of steam in recent fights, defeating Lovemore N'dou, Rafal Jackiewicz and Matthew Hatton in front of his adoring fans, with a Stateside win over Luis Galarza thrown in for good measure since his move to Matchroom in 2011.
Brook, 27-0 (18), sits at number four in the IBF ratings; Jones, 34-8-2 (24), is ranked third. The winner will take on either Bailey or Alexander next and "Special K" Brook has pledged to produce a stunning KO to underline his title credentials.
"I notice Carson's slimmed down and looks trim, but that big head of his hasn't shrunk down," said Brook when speaking at the pre-fight press conference earlier this week. "We're going to be hitting that big head on Saturday and hurting him. I don't like the kid. I can't wait to knock you out. You've been beaten before - I don't think I've even lost a round. You aren't going to touch me. You're going to get smoked."
Jones, though, has not tasted defeat since dropping a split decision to Rogerio Pereira in September 2010. A run of eight straight wins has helped erase memories of his early career struggles, not to mention picking up the USBA 147lb title with a victory over Ricardo Williams Jnr. in December, which boosted his ranking with the IBF.
The Oklahoma-based boxer knows all about hard knocks, he was on the wrong end of a stoppage loss to the strong but limited Alfonso Gomez in 2008, yet he plugged away and has seemed serenely confident throughout the build-up to his IBF International title challenge to Brook.
Brook, though, is fired up, clearly, and there is an edge that was missing ahead of his March meeting with Matthew Hatton, in which both men were polite and respectful, with the fight itself failing to catch fire due in part to "Magic" picking up a nose injury early and Brook's burgeoning big fight poise.
The 26-year-old was taken the championship distance by Hatton, who also lasted 12-rounds with Saul Alvarez, but Brook knows that a stoppage win live before the Sky TV cameras, and over a ranked American, will underline his world title credentials.
For his part, Jones, 25, will relish the idea of bouncing back from early setbacks to undermine Brook's world title aspirations. Like Primo Ramos, who destroyed the touted Frankie Randall in two in 1987 to halt Randall's seemingly unstoppable match to world honours, Jones has the power to throw a spanne
r in the works, and he may even test Brook's chin, but all signs point to a Brook win. Indeed, the "Steel City" contender, and former British title holder, may even produce the venom and follow on shots that were lacking versus Hatton to take Jones out - he will also have to take some big punches himself en route to a win that should set him up for a shot at the winner of Bailey-Alexander.
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