By Edward Chaykovsky
A deal is nearly complete for IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook to make a mandatory defense against Errol Spence on May 27 from Bramall Lane in Sheffield.
According to Sportmail, the Sheffield Council is expected to grant a license for the bout in the next week.
Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) has been out of the ring since moving up two weight divisions to challenge IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Brook was stopped in the fifth round and had to undergo surgery for a fractured orbital bone that was suffered during the contest. The injury eventually forced his corner to throw in the towel in the fifth round.
It remains to be seen how Brook will react, at least physically, having to squeeze back down to the welterweight limit of 147. Brook's handlers were trying very hard to persuade him to drop the IBF title and move up to the junior middleweight limit of 154-pounds, but the fight refused to abandon the title that he captured in 2014 with a close decision win over Shawn Porter in Los Angeles.
Spence (21-0, 18 KOs) became the mandatory challenger last year after knocking our Italian Olympian Leonard Bundu with ease. Bundu had previously gone twelve rounds in a competitive fight with current WBC/WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman.
Both boxers have now completed the contracts and they have already been filed with the International Boxing Federation. There will be VADA random drug testing involved in the fight.
"All the contracts are agreed and have been sent to the IBF. This is now the only fight we are looking at for Kell and it’s a big one," Hearn said.
"We are speaking with Sheffield Council about a licence for Bramall Lane on May 27 for a capacity of 28,000. We need to go over the policing, safety and other requirements. All being well we will be able to confirm the fight by the end of this week or the start of next week."