Kell Brook’s (38-2, 26 KOs) next opponent Mark DeLuca (24-3, 17 KOs) is relatively unknown to fight fans in Britain, so BBN dug up some interesting facts about the 31-year-old American due to visit our shores on Saturday February 8.
The 154-pounders will clash at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield in a 12-round WBO Inter-Continental super-welterweight contest, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Here's everything you need to know about Mark 'Bazooka' DeLuca:
He was just three-years-old when his father took him to local boxing program in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
His police officer father, Mark Sr, was a fighter himself and ran the South Shore Police Athletic League gym in Quincy, the ninth biggest city in Massachusetts where Mark Jr was born.
The Italian-American family were big fans of Rocky Marciano and Tony DeMarco, as well as local fighter to Massachusetts, Marvin Hagler.
All of Mark DeLuca’s siblings boxed, including his sister Rachel, but Mark - the eldest of the bunch - was the only one to stick at it.
Mark Jr inherited his father’s nickname ‘The Bazooka’, which Mark Sr was given for his ability to hit so hard, although he admits he doesn’t hit as hard as his dad, preferring to be slicker with his style.
Growing up in a tight-knit New England community, he formed an alliance with promotional outfit Murphys Boxing, founded by musician Ken Casey from American-Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphys.
Aged 19, he scored a first-round stoppage in his pro debut to kick off his pro career, although there wasn’t much cause for celebration as his opponent Elija Dickens (0-4) actually sprained his ankle and had to retire from the fight early.
In 2008, the six-fight unbeaten pro decided to join the army and served in the US Marines in Afghanistan as a machine gunner. His reason for joining was to help out and do his duty for his country and claims that boxing gave him an advantage when recruited because of the discipline and work ethic it had already taught him.
His enrolment in the United States forces is not the only reason for the many gaps in his career. A broken hand suffered, plus four shoulder surgeries had a lot to do with it.
A catastrophic, life-changing event tragically occurred in July 2013 when his beloved father was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, which left him with multiple orthopaedic injuries and brain trauma.
He has won 24 from 25 professional fights, 13 by way of knockout. His sole career loss came in June 2018 when he was defending his NABA and IBA super-welterweight titles. Seattle’s Walter Wright (16-4) just edged him in a split decision verdict on a Murphys Boxing event in New Hampshire. It was Wright’s maiden title contest as a pro and first time going 12-rounds.
The southpaw is currently 31-years-old, born February 12, 1988, and he stands at 5'9" tall, with a reach of 72", which gives him a 3" advantage over his forthcoming 26th opponent Kell Brook. He is now approaching his 13th year as a professional fighter.
When Kell Brook was celebrating his IBF world welterweight title win over Shawn Porter in August 2014, DeLuca was preparing to fight Gundrick King (18-12) in a six-rounder in New Hampshire.
He is currently ranked WBA #7.
Kell Brook vs Mark DeLuca takes place on February 8, with Kid Galahad (26-1, 15 KOs) appearing against Claudio Marrero (24-3, 17 KOs) in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Featherweight crown.