by Jake Donovan
An emotional ring return was expected given all that Kell Brook has been through in between fights. The unbeaten welterweight fought for the first time since a machete attack last fall, making the first defense of his alphabet title with a one-sided 4th round stoppage of Jo Jo Dan.
The triumphant return was a fitting homecoming, with Brook scoring four knockdowns in front of a capacity crowd at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England. From the moving ring entrance to the performance to post-fight crowd reaction, it was an overwhelming experience for a fighter who wasn’t 100% that his career would continue beyond last year’s title winning effort.
“I’m truly honored to perform here in front of all my fans,” Brook (34-0, 23KOs) stated after the win, his first defense of the belt he won with a brilliant performance versus Shawn Porter last summer. “I didn’t think I would ever box again. To be back and defend my world title means everything to me.”
The unbeaten Brit crashed the welterweight rankings with his upset win over Porter last August, traveling to the United States to wrest the crown and bring it home. Immediate plans at the time called for a holiday before returning by year’s end.
Those plans went horribly awry after Brook was the victim of what he described at the time as an unprovoked attack. A slash to his leg from a machete-wielding assailant left the boxer with 32 staples in his leg and months of rehab before returning to the ring Saturday evening.
“I’ve been out for a time with my leg,” Brook noted in taking stock of his performance. “This was a chance to knock the cobwebs off and then come back in June with a massive fight.”
Dan was the mandatory challenger, which means Brook is entitled a voluntary defense for his next fight and within the next nine months. There is plenty from which to choose in a loaded and lucrative welterweight division. Brook and his team have designs on whom they’d next like to face (check back on these pages for specifics), but for now the still prime welterweight is just grateful to fight again.
“I come from the bottom and I'm at the top,” Brook shouted at fight’s end, channeling his inner Drake. “I didn't think I could never walk again, ever mind box again.
“The best is yet to come, believe me.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox