SHEFFIELD’S Kell Brook lost his huge IBF welterweight clash with American Errol Spence Jr at Bramall Lane tonight.
Brook gamely battled through several rounds with a nasty injury to his left eye, but Spence’s pressure eventually told and Brook took a knee in the 11th round, handing the unbeaten Texan his first world title.
After a cagey opening round where Spence noticeably targeted the body of Brook, the Sheffield man got to work in the second, buzzing the American with a solid right hand.
Spence started the third round on the front foot and caught Brook with a slapping right hook. Brook shook off some sustained pressure from the Texan to finish the exchanges on the front foot.
Spence landed the more telling shots of the fourth round, with hooks to body and head, but yet again Brook replied, trapping Spence on the ropes momentarily and lifting the raucous crowd.
The fifth followed a similar pattern as both enjoyed short stints of success but neither could take control, Brook landing a decent counter right, Spence replying with a flurry of shots of his own.
Brook rocked Spence at the start of the sixth, the American stumbling against the ropes. Again he recovered but Brook ended the round on top, landing a thudding straight right which he followed up nicely.
Spence grew in confidence in the seventh, landing two accurate counter left hands as Brook tried to hunt him down and trap him against the ropes.
The eighth was anything but cagey, first Brook getting the crowd on their feet with a raid, but it was the American contingent ringside who ended the round the happier as Spence appeared to stun Brook with the Sheffield man happy to hear the bell.
Spence totally dominated the ninth as Brook appreared to be struggling with an injury to his left eye, referee Howard Foster taking a long look at Brook as Spence was all over him.
Brook had to dig deep to stay in the fight as he was dropped early in the 10th and it seemed inevitable Spence would stop him.
The Sheffield man somehow summoned the strength to fight back and prevent Foster calling a halt to proceedings.
Brook tried one last roll of the dice in the 11th as he traded some heavy shots with Spence, but the American landed more telling blows and Brook was forced to take a knee due to his badly swollen left eye.
Gamely Brook got to his feet inside the 10 count, but Foster rightly waved off the fight, handing Spence the IBF welterweight title.