By Terence Dooley
Both Matchroom Sports and Frank Warren Promotions have confirmed that Sheffield’s Kell Brook has joined forces with Matchroom Sport.
Brook is 23-0 (16KOs) and rated #1 in the WBO’s welterweight rankings, he is a former British champion, winning the belt outright after defending against a string of southpaws. The 24-year-old confirmed that he was out of contract earlier this week; Kell now joins Darren Barker as Matchroom’s latest big name acquisition.
‘Ezekiel’ is coming off a second round TKO win over Philip Kotey, he settled his domestic business with a cut eye stoppage victory over former WBO title challenger Michael Jennings last September and picked up the WBO Inter-Continental belt by halting Krzysztof Bienias in March of last year.
The Ingle-trained contender has been angling for a fight against America’s undefeated welterweight hope Mike Jones, 24-0 (18), confirming to me on Monday that ‘M.J.’ is his preferred opponent as he bids to nail down a WBO title shot.
The 2009 Young British Boxer of the Year says a meeting with Matchroom Sport’s managing director Eddie Hearn at Prizefighter Super-Middleweights II in Liverpool in March was the start of his new beginning.
“I'm really buzzing about joining Matchroom,” said Brook. “I met Eddie at Prizefighter and we just got on like a house on fire. His thoughts and plans on my future were exactly what I wanted to hear.
“The personal relationship is so important to me because at the end of the day, this is my life. I need to make sure I'm getting the best treatment and I think I'll get that with Matchroom Sport. Eddie is passionate about boxing and he wants the best for me so we're on the same wavelength which is perfect.
“We've got a date in June in mind and it'll be in Sheffield. We need to work out an opponent but it's great to have a fight lined-up and be topping bills live on Sky Sports in front on my home fans. I think I'm a couple of fights from a World title. I'm 25 at the start of May and mentally and physically I'm ready for it. It's just a matter of getting the right fights and sitting down with the team and planning how we're going to get there - but we are going to get there.
Brook has been linked with blockbuster nights against Matthew Hatton and Amir Khan, and while he is focussing on that June date first, he admitted both fights would be great for the fans.
“Matthew and I getting it on in Sheffield would be great,” said Brook. “His fans could come over from Manchester and with Ricky involved to it would just be a huge occasion. Matthew gave a good account of himself against Saul Alvarez and he's a big name out there now, and with me being the hot prospect, that's a great mix for a big fight.
“Fighting Amir would be an incredible night. If that fight could happen, ideally with us both World Champions, it would be a huge night that would put British boxing on the World stage and that's what we need here and what the fans crave.
“It's not about being on pay-per-view for me as not all the fans get to see it - you are excluding people from watching huge nights. I want to be winning headlining Saturday Fight Night shows regularly and I'll be the name on the lips of both the hardcore fight fans and the more casual boxing fans too.”
Brook joins ‘Dazzling’ Darren Barker as a new addition to Matchroom Sport’s boxing stable, with Barker making his bow in a European Middleweight title fight in London on April 30. Brook and Barker sit alongside Paul McCloskey, who challenges Khan for his World title in Manchester next week, and former WBA Super Lightweight World champion Gavin Rees.
“I am so excited about adding Kell to our stable,” said Hearn. “There was never a strategy to start signing fighters but when someone like Kell comes along, there is no way I was going to pass up this opportunity.
“Kell oozes class and has that something special about him – in short he is going to be a superstar. Even in the last 24 hours we have started making big moves for Kell and the plan is to have a high profile defence in June before challenging for the World title later this year.
“We have an obligation to provide Sky Sports with top quality fighters in top quality fights and I'm delighted that fight fans will get the opportunity to watch the likes of Kell Brook and Darren Barker free to air on Saturday Night Fight nights. Our young fighters need a regular platform to showcase their talents and that platform is headlining shows on Saturday nights - not on pay-per view shows with only a quarter of the audience.”
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