FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield - Former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) made his junior middleweight debut with a second round knockout of Sergey Rabchenko (29-3, 22 KOs).
Coming in, Brook was riding a two fight losing streak. He jumped up by two weight divisions to challenge middleweight king Gennady Golovkin in September of 2016 and was stopped in the fifth round. He suffered a fractured eye socket in the fight.
Brook came back in May of 2017, after dropping back to the welterweight limit, and this time he was stopped in eleven rounds by Errol Spence. Once again Brook suffered a fractured eye socket and was shelved for several months to fully recover from the injury.
Rabchenko won his last two bouts after suffering a TKO defeat at the hands of Tony Harrison in a junior middleweight eliminator in July of 2016.
As their contest began, Brook looked sharp in the early going and was landing solid shots. Rabchenko appeared to be very cold and too eager as he was jumping in with missed punches.
In the second round, a solid counter that began with a huge uppercut appeared to shake up the legs of Rabchenko, and then a big combination of punches, with a solid temple shot, dropped the boxer hard. He was really struggling to get to his feet and barely made up at ten, as the referee waved off the contest as Rabchenko was out on his feet.
Brook was mentally damaged after taking those two defeats to Golovkin and Spence. The support of the local fans made Brook get back in the gym, start training hard, and he began his comeback.
He needed a victory like this to get his confidence back, and now he's in line for a shot at WBC junior middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo, who is scheduled to defend his title on June 9th and doesn't have an opponent.