Kell Brook will make his eagerly-anticipated return to the ring against Mark DeLuca at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield on Saturday February 8 on a bumper bill featuring Kid Galahad taking on Claudio Marrero in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Featherweight crown, Terri Harper clashing with Eva Wahlstrom for the WBC Super-Featherweight World Title and the return of Heavyweight favourite Dave Allen, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Former IBF Welterweight ruler Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) was last seen outpointing Australia’s Michael Zerafa over a year ago in his hometown and ‘The Special One’, now trained by Dominic Ingle, will be aiming to shake off the ring rust and fire his name back into the mix for a Word Title shot in 2020.
Standing in his way is the USA’s DeLuca (24-1, 13 KOs), a southpaw hailing from Whitman in Massachusetts nicknamed ‘The Bazooka’ who is currently enjoying a three-fight winning streak, picking up the NABA Super-Welterweight title on the undercard of Andrade vs. Kautondokwa in October 2018.
“I’m so happy to be back and I can’t wait to put on a performance for my city on February 8 live on Sky Sports and DAZN,” said Brook. “I’ve had a year out, there has been some dark times but what I’ve realised is I love this sport and I know I have some of my biggest years left in the game. DeLuca is a strong, gutsy fighter who is always ready for war but I’m planning on putting on a statement and showing the world that I’m still a force at 154 or 147lbs.”
Galahad (26-1, 15 KOs) fell short in a close and controversial battle with IBF Featherweight kingpin Josh Warrington at the First Direct Arena in Leeds earlier this year but the Sheffield contender has earned a golden opportunity to land another shot at the 126lbs World Title when he meets ‘The Matrix’.
Marrero (24-3, 17 KOs) captured the interim WBA Featherweight World Title with a one round demolition of Carlos Zambrano in 2017 and the 30-year-old from the Dominican Republic is determined to shatter Galahad’s dreams and set up another attempt at gold for himself.
“Every opponent at this level has to be respected and that’s what I’ll do,” said Galahad. “He’s a game kid in a life changing fight, similar to me. So it will be a tough night but I’ll prepare fully.
“I am grateful to the IBF, Matchroom and my team for making sure they made a sensible decision to get me back into the Final Eliminator – something I think is deserved and most of the fans do too.
“I’ve had many people believe I won the first fight with Warrington but what’s written in the record books is what counts. I’ll focus fully on Marrero now and then if and when we get through that – I’ll look to right the wrongs of the first fight. Let’s hope Josh sticks around to take the rematch as many of his own fans and neutrals came out saying he didn’t do enough to have his arm raised the first night.”
Harper (9-0, 5 KOs) got off to a flying start under the Matchroom Boxing banner with a polished performance to outpoint tough Brazilian Viviane Obenauf in the first defence of her IBO Super-Featherweight World Title on her 23rd birthday in November.
That win set up a shot at the famous green and gold WBC Super-Featherweight World Title owned by Finland’s Wahlstrom (23-1-2, 3 KOs), a veteran of women’s boxing who will be making the sixth defence of her title against rising star Harper.
“I’m really looking forward to be fighting back in Sheffield, this time as a Matchroom fighter and fighting for one of the most prestigious World Title belts in my opinion,” said Harper. “I know that there’s boxers out there who would give anything for this opportunity that I’ve been given, so we’re leaving no stone left unturned.
“Being local and having the home crowd behind me on the night, the atmosphere is going to be electric – I know this is going to push me on to win the belt not only for me but for every single supporter.”
Allen (17-5-2, 14 KOs) makes his long-awaited ring return after taking some time out of boxing following his defeat to David Price at The O2 in London in July, and the ‘White Rhino’ now has his eyes set on securing a shot at the coveted Lord Lonsdale Challenge Belt in 2020.
“It’s great to be back boxing and even better it’s at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield,” said Allen. “It’s an honour to be boxing alongside some of my friends and to see Kell Brook return to action. I’m coming back to win the British Title and that’s my aim for 2020, this is the start of that journey.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “We’re delighted to see Kell Brook back in action on Sky Sports in front of his hometown fans in Sheffield. Kell will be determined to prove he can still battle with the very best, including British rival Amir Khan, and we hope he can set up a blockbuster fight for later in the year.
“It’s an exciting early addition to our 2020 schedule, with Kid Galahad trying to force his way back into World Title contention, the excellent Terri Harper can become Britain’s latest World Champion, and Dave Allen always guarantees entertainment.”
Tickets priced £40, £60, £100 and £200 (VIP) go on sale at midday today (Friday December 20) and will be available to purchase from the FlyDSA Arena (www.flydsaarena.co.uk), StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk) and Matchroom Boxing (www.matchroomboxing.com)