By Jake Donovan
The big mystery opponent for Kell Brook’s hometown show fight was revealed on Wednesday as the unbeaten welterweight contender next faces Matthew Hatton on March 17 at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England.
Press releases sent earlier in the week promised the revealing of Brook's next opponent and the promotion didn't disappoint on the timing, or the level of competition.
Brook returns to the ring on the heels of his U.S. debut last month, when he stopped Luis Galarza in five rounds on the undercard of promotional stablemate Carl Froch’s gut wrenching points loss to Andre Ward in Atlantic City. Plenty of positive press was generated regarding Brook (26-0, 18KO), who is on a roll and is anxious to keep the hot streak going in pursuit of a world title shot.
“I’m excited about the fight. It’s a great domestic fight,” Brook said of the upcoming showdown with Hatton. “It captures the imagination of the British public - number one versus number 2, and we find out on March 17 who is number one.”
Brook has been anxious to prove his worth in the welterweight mix dating back to late 2010, when he was in prime position to challenge fellow unbeaten contender Mike Jones in a bout that would have carried title fight implications. Brook was eager, but Jones’ handlers pulled the plug on the fight, instead accepting a showcase bout on the undercard of a Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view show.
Rather than wait around for a fight that most likely wasn’t going to happen, Brook and his team set off in a different direction. The unbeaten Brit looked sensational in dominating former 140 lb. champ Lovemore N’Dou last June.
The win was followed by perhaps his best performance to date, tearing through former title challenger Rafal Jackiewicz last October before his aforementioned stateside debut last month.
In Hatton (42-5-2, 16KO), Brook finds himself in a fight where a win will confirm his credentials as a top contender.
“I’m relishing the opportunity for a fight against someone on this level,” Brook says of Hatton, who rebounded from a title fight letdown against Saul Alvarez with a strong showing against previously unbeaten Andrey Abramenka last August. “It will be a spectacular night where I come out victorious.”
The bout will mark Brook’s fourth fight in a span of nine months, most of which has come against escalated level of competition. The rate of activity is just what the doctor ordered for the 25-year old, who is entering the prime of his career and has no intention of slowing down.
“My career needs this and I’m excited to return,” Brook says of the three-month turnaround. “It keeps me active, keeps me training. The winner of this fight goes to a world title. I’m ready for a world title.”
Also included on the card - which will air live in the UK on Sky Sports - is a domestic welterweight showdown between Adnan Amar and Lee Purdy for the vacant English welterweight title.
In preliminary action, middleweight contender Darren Barker returns for the first time since his brave showing in defeat against reigning lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez last year in Atlantic City.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]