Brook comes of age by outpointing N'dou
Kell Brook announced his arrival as a force on the world stage by producing a mature performance to comprehensively outpoint Lovemore N'dou and claim the WBA inter-continental welterweight title.
Although Brook, whose record moves to 24-0 (16KOs), failed to become the first man to stop N'dou, his clinical dismantling of a durable opponent bodes well for his chances of becoming a major player at the top of the sport in future. The judges awarded the contest in Brook's favour 118-111, 119-110, 119-110.
Fighting in front of a raucous home crowd, and teaming up with promoters Matchroom Sports for the first time, Brook made the fluent start he craved, comfortably taking the first two rounds - although it was solid, rather than spectacular, fare as he astutely switched between front and back foot.
One month away from his 40th birthday, N'dou was predictably the less busy of the two, looking for finishing shots - particularly the left hook - as Brook landed more regularly with straighter blows throughout the third and fourth frames.
The Brit was pinned against the ropes at the start of the fifth, but he weathered the storm despite wearing a couple of hurtful punches, and was testing N'dou's resilience to the limit by the end of the sixth as the veteran took his turn to wade through rocky waters.
As the fight rumbled past half-way, a sluggish N'dou appeared content just to go the distance, with Brook boxing shrewdly, picking his time to unload short bursts rather than looking to blast his opponent out.
But N'dou came back strongly in the ninth as Brook, going past eight rounds for the first time in his professional career, began to look more laboured in his movements, allowing N'dou to have his best session of the fight.
That proved no more than a brief wobble for Brook, who repeatedly threatened to bring a premature end to the bout in the tenth and 11th stanzas, with N'dou somehow staying on his feet even after eating Brook's most venomous strikes. By the 12th he was hanging on for grim life - but he survived to hear the final bell, which was greeted by a knowing leap of delight from Brook.