By Keith Idec
Now that he has lost the IBF welterweight title in the ring, not by giving it up, Kell Brook seems more agreeable to the idea of moving up to 154 pounds.
The former champion told Sky Sports News on Sunday that his next fight might be the appropriate time to make a permanent move up from 147 pounds. The 31-year-old Brook has fought almost exclusively at welterweight since he made his pro debut in September 2004.
“I think the time is now maybe to move up,” said Brook, who lost his 147-pound title to Errol Spence Jr. on Saturday night in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown. “I’ve been making welterweight since I was a teenager. … I went up to middleweight in my last fight. I put a lot of muscle on and it was so hard to get to welterweight.”
Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) moved back down from middleweight to welterweight after Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) stopped him in the fifth round of their middleweight title fight September 10 at O2 Arena in London. The 5-feet-9 Brook weighed in at 159 pounds for the Golovkin bout, but was determined to keep his IBF welterweight title in the aftermath of his first professional loss.
Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter, urged Brook to give up his IBF 147-pound championship following his loss to Golovkin. Hearn explored fights for Brook against British rival Amir Khan and former four-division champion Miguel Cotto, but when those fights failed to get made, Brook was adamant about keeping the IBF welterweight he traveled to the United States to win from Shawn Porter in August 2014.
That required the stubborn Brook to make a mandatory defense against the dangerous Spence (22-0, 19 KOs), a highly touted American southpaw who was more than willing to travel to Brook’s hometown for a title shot. The first six rounds of their fight were very competitive, but the powerful Spence wore down Brook, made him take a knee once apiece in the 10th and 11th rounds and won by 11th-round technical knockout when Brook decided he couldn’t continue due to blurry vision in his left eye.
Brook revealed Sunday that he suffered a broken orbital bone around his left eye, which is expected to require surgery. He had surgery following his loss to Golovkin to repair a broken orbital bone around his right eye.
Now that Brook has suffered back-to-back TKO losses at middleweight and welterweight, Hearn wants Brook to establish himself as a junior middleweight.
“It’s time for Kell to move up to 154,” Hearn told iFL TV following his loss to Spence. “He made the weight – no excuses. He made it well. Obviously, it was a struggle, but you know, just as much a struggle as before. But, you know, he’s in his 30s now and he’s made that weight for a long time. And I feel like, as I felt like before the Errol Spence fight, he’d be a real great fighter at 154 pounds. But now he’s got to have another operation. This is boxing. It’s a brutal game. So, you know, get that done next week. And then hopefully get one in before the end of the year and try and set up a big world title fight in 2018.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.