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Kell Brook returns to the ring with emphatic demolition of Mark DeLuca

The former IBF welterweight world champion showed no signs of ring rust in his first fight in 14 months.

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Kell Brook made an explosive return to boxing in Sheffield (Richard Sellers/PA)

Kell Brook made an explosive return to boxing in Sheffield (Richard Sellers/PA)

Kell Brook made an explosive return to boxing in Sheffield (Richard Sellers/PA)

Kell Brook made an explosive return to boxing as he knocked out American Mark DeLuca in the seventh round of their super welterweight bout in Sheffield.

In his first fight since defeating Michael Zefara by unanimous decision in an uninspiring performance in December 2018, Brook insisted only a “spectacular” victory would do on his return and he more than proved that he remains in world title contention.

DeLuca was a heavy underdog coming into the contest at Sheffield Arena but had suffered just one defeat in his 25 fights, which came via split decision against Walter Wright in June 2018.

However, the former IBF welterweight world champion showed no signs of ring rust in his first fight in 14 months as he took control of the contest.

“I don’t want to go on holiday with the family, I want to get straight back in the gym on Monday,” Brook told Sky Sports. “I want to be fighting in 10-12 weeks, I’m ready to go.

“This is the last chapter in my career, Eddie Hearn is going line up them big fights up for me, world titles, 2020 is going to be the year I become a champion again.”

Brook was in fine form against DeLuca in Sheffield
Brook was in fine form against DeLuca in Sheffield (Richard Sellers/PA)

Brook showed his interest in a huge domestic fight with former WBO light middleweight champion Liam Smith, who was ringside.

“I don’t shy away from any fighter. I have a lot of respect for Liam, I sparred with him and we had very good spars,” he added.

“If anything is to go on with the spars then the fight will be amazing. I love the Smith family but when we go in there, it’s business.”

A domestic fight with Liam Smith, pictured, could be on the cards for Brook
A domestic fight with Liam Smith, pictured, could be on the cards for Brook (Peter Byrne/PA)

Brook worked his way into the fight with a counter punch in each of the opening two rounds to gain the early advantage before the hometown favourite burst into life in the third.

A three-punch combination got the Sheffield Arena crowd on their feet before a crushing left hook caught DeLuca flush on the nose, which immediately started bleeding.

A huge left uppercut caught the American off guard before another left hand saw DeLuca drop his right knee and force a count by the referee.

DeLuca ended the round chasing Brook around the ring as the Briton kept his composure, with the pair exchanging words after the bell went for the third round.

Mark DeLuca was knocked out in the seventh round
Mark DeLuca was knocked out in the seventh round (Richard Sellers/PA)

The fourth started slowly but Brook’s left hand caused more problems for his former marine opponent before the bell saved DeLuca from further punishment.

Brook fired another combination on the American in the sixth as the one-way traffic continued, with DeLuca battling valiantly to remain in the contest.

Brook’s quality finally shone through, after DeLuca was pushed through the ropes, in the seventh when 33-year-old landed a heavy straight left to send his opponent crashing to the ground.

PA