By Ronnie Nathanielsz
With chances of a hoped-for dream fight with undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr looking unlikely, Kell Brook looks set to defend his IBF welterweight title against Brandon Rios in London this autumn.
Sky Sports reported that Brook had been hoping to share a ring with the WBC, WBA and WBO champion in his planned farewell fight in Las Vegas on September 12 after he extended his unbeaten record to 35 straight wins, 24 by knockout, after stopping Frankie Gavin in six rounds in the second defense of his title last month.
Brook says he'll be ready to fight by September despite putting on some obvious weight
However, neither Brook nor domestic rival Amir Khan were in Mayweather’s thoughts when he named Andre Berto and Karim Mayfield as possible opponents for his 49th fight.
Berto, who holds the WBA ‘regular’ title, has lost three of his past six fights while fellow American Mayfield was beaten twice last year and has never fought for a world title.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has said “we are going for Kell’s next defense to be held at the O2 Arena on another huge show and its looking like it will be against Brandon Rios"
Hearn also told ESPN: "We would love to make the Mayweather fight for Kell on September 12 and we are in the hat because Kell's world champion and if Mayweather wants to become undisputed champion with all the belts he has to take that fight but he added,
"I don't think we will get it and others have been mentioned. Kell Brook is more credible than the names that have been mentioned and like I said Mayweather could have the chance of unifying the division, but I don't think it will happen.”
The 29 year old Rios has a record of 33-2-1 with 24 knockouts. One of those losses was a sound beating at the hands of eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao when the Filipino southpaw returned to the ring in Macau after suffering a crushing 6th round knockout to Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez.
Rios’ other defeat was a unanimous decision loss to Mike “Mile High” Alvarado in a rematch at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel and Casino after Rios stopped Alvarado in the 7th round of their first meeting at what is now known as the StubHub Center in Carson City, California.