Errol Spence Jr called out IBF champion Kell Brook in the aftermath of his thoroughly impressive victory over Chris Algieri on Saturday night (16 April). The American welterweight dominated proceedings against his tough compatriot at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, sending him to the canvas three times en route to a comfortable fifth-round stoppage.
Knocking out an opponent that beat Ruslan Provodnikov back in 2014, before going the distance with both Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, has only served to further underline Spence's status as a budding world title challenger. Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman are the other current champions at welterweight level, yet the confident 26-year-old appears eager for a showdown with Sheffield fighter Brook following the latter's straightforward win over mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier in March.
"I'm the No 1 contender for Kell Brook," Spence was quoted as saying by The Guardian. "Kell Brook knows what time it is. We got to get in the ring and fight.
"I did something Manny Pacquiao couldn't do, nor Amir Khan. That shows where I'm at in the welterweight division. Everyone wanted to see what I could do against a proven fighter and I blew him out of the water."
Elsewhere on a busy night of boxing, Stephen Smith narrowly failed in his quest to emulate his brother Liam and become Great Britain's 13th current world champion, after being outpointed by IBF world super-featherweight title holder Jose Pedraza in Connecticut. It was a spirited performance from "Swifty", whose other sibling Callum won the European super-middleweight belt earlier this month, but a ninth-round knockdown proved pivotal as the three judges returned scorecards of 117-110, 116-111 and 116-111 in the unbeaten Puerto Rican's favour.
In Leeds, hometown favourite Josh Warrington moved one step closer to a shot at Lee Selby's IBF featherweight strap after outlasting Hisashi Amagasa at First Direct Arena. "The Warrior" started with trademark speed in front of a noisy crowd, but faltered slightly during the middle rounds against a reputable fighter who previously floored the formidable Guillermo Rigondeaux twice. He picked it up again in the latter stages and did enough to win the fight, but the wide scorecards – particularly a bizarre 121-107 – were widely criticised.