Amir Khan and Kell Brook fittingly had to be pulled apart when they met face-to-face years after the industry has called for the pair of former champions to come together.
The pair of bitter British rivals were on the same stage Monday to formally announce their long-awaited grudge match, which is set for February 19 at AO Arena in Manchester, England. The fight will air live on Sky Sports Box Office, whose brass couldn't be more thrilled to present the event.
"Khan and Brook have been asked about this fight for a decade, despite their success as world champions," Adam Smith, Head of Boxing at Sky Sports stated during the official announcement presser. "Now we get the answer in Manchester on February 19."
Khan has fought just four times since the loss to Alvarez. He is 3-1 over that stretch, having also suffered a stoppage loss to Crawford at 0:47 of round six in his failed April 2019 welterweight title challenge at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Interestingly, the fight with Crawford came in lieu of a hoped-for clash with Brook, who was left standing at the altar when Khan walked away from negotiations late in 2018. Brook was due to headline a December 2018 show in Sheffield, on Khan's 32nd birthday and with hopes of his being in attendance.
Khan decided against the move, instead choosing to head stateside to challenge one of the sport's very best. Brook went on to beat Michael Zerafa that evening, though sitting out for more than a year before landing a rust-shaking hometown headliner versus Mark DeLuca whom he stopped inside of seven rounds last February.
By that point, Khan was seven months removed from his last fight—a July 2019 sixth-round stoppage of former featherweight titlist Billy Dib in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His name remained in the headlines, though without a fight to show for it. Interest in a fight with Brook was renewed earlier this year, with the two finally agreeing to terms—better late than never, as far as Khan is concerned.
"Never ran from Kell, never needed to," insisted Khan, who turns 35 in December. "Obviously, what I’ve achieved in this sport speaks for itself. We’re here now. There’s no point crying about the past. There was a time in the past I didn’t think he deserved the fight.
"Now it’s come to a stage where I want to give him a good shot in the face and put him in his place. That’s what it’s all about, end of day. All that talk is being given. Come February 19, we’re going to see what he’s gonna do, if he can back them words up."
Their first face-to-face saw Khan and Brook go nose-to-nose, Brook pushing forward before the two were immediately separated. A second effort at a more civil stare down produced the same result, with hopes of that level of intensity spilling over into the ring when they finally meet next February.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox