Peter Wells of Boxing News and Views is back this weekend to give his Kell Brook vs Rabchenko prediction as well as taking a look at all the undercard action.
It would have been easy for Sheffield’s Kell Brook to walk away from boxing after two gruelling stoppage defeats.
But having lost to a future Hall-of-Famer and a rising pound-for-pound supremo, Brook opted to continue his journey in the boxing ring.
The former IBF Welterweight champion returns in the Super Welterweight division in a fight that should act as a warm-up before a pursuit for more title glory ensues.
Sergey Rabchenko 29-2(22KO’s) is an experienced operator, but a points loss to Anthony Mundine a stoppage at the hands of Tony Harrison may well have circled the Belarusian’s level at below that of world-class.
His best win came back in 2012 when he defeated upcoming world title challenger Cedric Vitu – that clash between Vitu and Brian Carlos Castano for the WBA ‘regular’ title may have Eddie Hearn on high alert.
But he will not improve on that this Saturday night in Sheffield.
Brook 36-2(25KO’s) can find his groove early in the contest, and from there he will dominate in every area.
It won’t have Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo shaking in their boots, but that sensational trio will be well aware that they have new competition in their division, as Brook stops Rabchenko shortly after the halfway point.
It may only be a supporting act, but Gamal Yafai’s rise in class against Gavin McDonnell holds all the ingredients of the fight of the night.
Birmingham’s Yafai 14-0(7KO’s) will feel he is not far behind brother Kal in pursuit of a world title, and will take a major step in a division stacked with next generation talent.
Yafai already holds stoppages over domestic rivals Bobby Jenkinson and Sean Davis, while beating Josh Wale on points. This however is another step up as he faces former world title challenger McDonnell 18-1-2(5KO’s).
Twin brother of Jamie, Gavin will look to use his experience at the top-level to deter ‘The Beast’s’ surge towards the top. But without the power that Yafai seems to possess, that will be an extremely tough ask.
Yafai can punch, but not enough to force the granite chinned McDonnell out of there inside the distance.
But McDonnell has already ventured through this same route once, and maybe that just might curb his enthusiasm in this WBC International Super Bantamweight title clash.
Gavin’s long range boxing makes this an unsteady night for Yafai, but Gamal can negate that with his shot selection. McDonnell will work tirelessly throughout, but it is hard to see him frustrating Yafai all night from distance.
Once Gamal finds a rhythm, he can ease his way through the gears. He may force it a little too much at times, but he will learn plenty while winning a close one on points.
An exciting return between Lenroy Thomas 22-4(10KO’s) and David Allen 12-3-1(9KO’s) should provide a thrill for the fans.
The Commonwealth Heavyweight crown is again on the line. The first fight ended in a split decision in favour of Thomas, and one feels the conclusion to the rematch will be similar.
Allen has earned himself a healthy following with his down-to-earth and humorous personality. Whether it’s on social media or in the ring, Allen never fails to entertain.
These two friendly giants will share another enjoyable encounter, while I take my seat on the fence and tab this one to end in a draw.