Kell Brook looked far from convincing as he recorded a unanimous points victory over Australia’s Michael Zerafa in Saturday’s super-welterweight fight in Sheffield.
Having spent the build-up to the fight taunting Amir Khan over what he claimed was the Bolton man’s reluctance to fight him, the 32-year-old produced a performance which would hardly have had his compatriot running scared.
Despite a fast start in the opening round, the Yorkshireman was well below his best, looking laboured and allowing his unheralded opponent to land with far too many shots.
However, he was still too good for Zerafa, winning the final eliminator for the WBA super-welterweight world title by 118-110, 119-109 and 117-111 on the judges’ scorecards.
Brook admitted after the fight, his first since March, he had felt “rusty” and “flat” before again turning his attention to Khan.
“I’ve got the buzz again, I’m reborn,” Brook said on Sky Sports. “Next year, 2019, I’m coming for them big boys. It’s now or never. Amir, I’m ready, I’m hungry, I’m fit.”
"I will go down to welterweight, I will do the rehydration, we will do the deal live on television. It's not my fault it hasn't happened. I want the fight, I want to shut him up and move on to (Errol) Spence Jr, (Shawn) Porter. I want the big boys.
"It's now or never. He's got one more fight with Eddie Hearn and it was supposed to be me, now, the final big one - but he's running off again. Listen, I am here, I am ready, I'm back in the gym and hungry, I am reborn and ready to take the world on."
Khan appears more likely to pursue a fight against American welterweight Terence Crawford than focus on an all-British super-fight, but promoter Eddie Hearn admitted Brook’s latest performance might prompt a change of heart.
“If I was Amir Khan I would be on the phone now to take this fight,” he said.