All but four of Mark DeLuca’s 25 previous professional fights have been within a reasonable driving distance of his hometown of Whitman, Massachusetts.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, the 32-year-old International Boxing Association and North American Boxing Association super welterweight titleholder will be on the other side of the Atlantic, facing former world welterweight titlist Kell Brook in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England. A vacant World Boxing Organization 154-pound belt will be at stake.
DeLuca doesn’t view it as fighting in hostile territory, however. On the contrary, he feels being in the other guy’s hometown can help him.
“He’ll have all the pressure,” DeLuca said. “He’ll have all the eyeballs on him. I’m coming in anonymous.”
DeLuca, who has a 24-1 record with 13 knockouts, has won his last three fights after his only loss, a controversial split decision against Walter Wright in Gilford, New Hampshire on June, 23, 2018.
He avenged that loss in his next fight with a unanimous decision on Oct. 20, 2018. In 2019, he won decision victories against Jimmy Williams and Brandon Brewer, a previously undefeated fighter from Canada.
The rematch against Wright and the fight against Brewer helped him land the fight against Brook.
“This will be my third fight on a Matchroom Boxing card,” DeLuca said. “The relationship that my promoter, Ken Casey, and Eddie Hearn has helped make it happen.”
Casey, the bass player in the Dropkick Murphys, also runs Murphy’s Boxing. In the last decade, Murphy’s Boxing has become one of the most prolific promoters in New England.
“He’s one of the top promoters nationally,” said DeLuca, who also headlined a Golden Boy Promotions show in 2018 that was broadcast on ESPN.” “Ken’s professional attitude has attracted Eddie Hearn, Golden Boy and Al Haymon to do shows around here.”
DeLuca turned pro in 2007. He went two years between fights from 2008 and 2010 and had another hiatus between 2010 and 2014 due to injuries to both shoulders and a hand. He also enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 2008, spending some time in Afghanistan.
“It was the injuries that set me back,” DeLuca said. “It cost me a few years, but I am where I am.”
DeLuca has been preparing for the fight with Brook for about five weeks and said training has gone smoothly.
“We all know his pedigree, level of experience and athleticism,” DeLuca said. “When I approach a fight, I approach it focusing on myself and what I can do. I’m going in with a winner’s mentality. I’m just focused on Feb. 8.”