Kell Brook beats Frankie Gavin to defend IBF welterweight title

By Ben DirsBBC Sport at London's O2 Arena
Kell Brook wins
Kell Brook produced an impressive display to retain his title

Kell Brook stopped British rival Frankie Gavin in the sixth round to retain his IBF welterweight title.

Gavin, Britain's only ever amateur world champion, gave Brook one or two problems with his awkward style in the early stages at London's O2 Arena.

But Sheffield's Brook, 29, ground his challenger down for the second successful defence of his world title.

Heavyweight Anthony Joshua showed his vast potential with a second-round stoppage of veteran Kevin Johnson.

Brook-Gavin, the first all-British welterweight world title fight, headlined a packed card, including three world title fights involving four Britons, two British title fights, a Commonwealth title fight and another Joshua demolition.

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn on Radio 5 live:
"Frankie Gavin was always going to have a style which would cause problems but Kell Brook was too big and too strong. Frankie said afterwards it was like fighting a monster - he'd never felt power like it, even in the clinches. Kell won't get the credit until he fights the big names and it's our job to bring them over. But the Americans are talking about him believe me."

Gavin's commitment has sometimes been questioned since he joined the professional ranks in 2009 but he looked in fine shape before his first world title challenge and promised he would go toe-to-toe with the champion.

Southpaw Gavin, also 29, looked comfortable enough during the opening exchanges, waiting for Brook to force the action and looking to time him on the counter.

Brook got through with some hard punches in the second and third rounds but Gavin might have nicked the fourth courtesy of some sharp right-hand counters.

But Gavin's face was beginning to mark up in the fifth and the fact that he was spending so much time on the ropes indicated that Brook's punches were finally getting to him.

Frankie Gavin and Kell Brook
Brook is now unbeaten in 35 professional fights

And when Brook landed with a right hand towards the end of the sixth round, followed by two uppercuts, the referee stepped in to save Gavin from more punishment.

"I always knew it would be tricky," Brook said. "I knew it was going to be scrappy. He's awkward, he's crafty, he's smart.

"I knew I had to take my time, but I knew it was a matter of time until I nailed him.

"I could see he was tiring and I was landing heavy shots. I was testing my skills out and I got it done. Now I want to move on from this."

After the fight, promoter Eddie Hearn ruled out a match between Brook and Bolton's former two-time world champion Amir Khan, who outpointed Chris Algieri in New York on Friday.

Khan is set on a meeting with American legend Floyd Mayweather, holder of the WBC, WBA and WBO welterweight belts. Mayweather, 38, says he will fight one more time in September before retiring.

As for Gavin, who fell to 22 wins and two losses in the paid ranks, he at least demonstrated he probably has more fights in him at the highest level.

Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua has been tipped to become a heavyweight world champion

Johnson, who had never been stopped in 36 previous professional fights, had gone the distance with former heavyweight world champion Vitali Klitschko, as well as Joshua's fellow Britons Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora.

But the 25-year-old Londoner, who won super-heavyweight gold at the 2012 Olympic Games, wobbled Johnson with his first right hand thrown in anger.

Joshua floored Johnson twice towards the end of the first round and would have finished it if his 35-year-old opponent had not been saved by the bell, as well as referee Ian John-Lewis, who inexplicably helped him to his feet.

But Johnson did not last much longer, the referee calling a halt to proceedings one minute and 22 seconds into the second round after another sustained barrage by Joshua.

Joshua now has 13 wins from 13 paid fights, all of them coming inside three rounds, and has fought only 24 rounds in total.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said Joshua would be out again in September. Joshua's fellow unbeaten Londoner Dillian Whyte, who is unbeaten in 14 pro fights and beat Joshua as an amateur, is a possible opponent.

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