New IBF rankings position Brandon Rios for Kell Brook challenge

Phil Jay 04/06/2015

This week’s updated International Boxing Federation ratings have opened the door for British fighter Kell Brook to defend his IBF welterweight crown against former world title holder Brandon Rios in the autumn.

Brook, 28, has made no secret of the fact that Rios is on his shortlist for what will be a second homecoming for ‘The Special One,’ potentially at a football stadium in Sheffield in August or September, and both sides have made it public that contact has been made about the clash.

Prior to this week, ex-WBA lightweight champion Rios was unranked by the organisation and therefore wouldn’t have been able to meet the requirements for Brook’s next voluntary defense of the title – although recent developments have changed all that.

Rios has been placed at number 13, meaning the 29 year-old is eligible to challenge Brook for his title before any mandatory stipulations are due to be fulfilled by the champion. IBF Chairman Lindsey Tucker informed WBN that Brook can face anyone in the top 15 until October 28 of this year and Rios is one of those contenders that Brook could niw consider.

“Kell Brook is in an optional period now following his mandatory against Jo Jo Dan in March and can fight anyone in the IBF’s top 15 rankings until October 28, 2015,” Tucker told World Boxing News.

As the top two places are unrated and Frankie Gavin was defeated convincingly by Brook last month, there are twelve possible foes for Brook and promoter Eddie Hearn to mull over, although number three-ranked Amir Khan has already ruled himself out.