Fighting in his hometown of Sheffield, Brook – whose previous two bouts had resulted in punishing inside-schedule defeats to elite-level fighters in Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jnr – looked sharp from the outset.
Demonstrating his speed and accuracy in the opener by connecting with stiff jabs and firm follow-ups, the ex-IBF welterweight king then showcased his spot-on timing and thumping power in the second round.
After scoring with a jolting right uppercut, Brook punctuated his dominance with a shuddering right hand to the temple that turned Rabchenko’s legs to jelly. The Belarusian had no hope of regaining his footing, and was counted out by referee Steve Gray after 1-27 of the session.
Following the contest, Brook declared that if he had the choice of fighting for a world super-welterweight championship next, or facing long-time rival Amir Khan, he’d choose the Khan fight.
McDonnell’s solid jab, precise punching, intelligent head movement, relentless engine and greater experience proved too much for the game and courageous Yafai to handle. The bout was close at the halfway mark, but a strong second-half showing from McDonnell led to a well-deserved unanimous points triumph by scores of 117-113 and 116-112 twice.
Also on the undercard, Dave Allen, of Conisbrough, saw his Commonwealth heavyweight title effort end after less than three minutes against reigning titlist Lenroy Thomas. Just 2-18 was on the clock when the rematch had to be stopped due to a nasty cut above Allen’s right eye, which had been caused by an accidental clash of heads. A technical draw was the result, meaning Jamaican southpaw Thomas kept his crown.