By Terence Dooley
Sheffield’s Kell Brook (35-0, 24 early) waited a long time for his world title shot. The welterweight spent a few years in contention when moving towards the WBO title, which he never got to fight for, followed by his pursuit of the IBF belt after joining Eddie Hearn’s promotional stable in 2011.
Injuries led to spiked fights and, for a time, it seemed that he would wither on the vine of contention.
All that changed in August of last year when “Special K” travelled to California for an IBF title tilt against Shawn Porter. One majority decision win later and Brook’s world was turned on its head. A champion at last, he went on holiday with his family to celebrate before planning his next move.
Everyone knows what happened next. Brook was attacked with a machete while on holiday in Tenerife and his career hung in the balance due to fears that there could be long-term muscle damage to his leg.
The 29-year-old fought his way back to full fitness then cleared his mandatory at the first opportunity by stopping Jo Jo Dan in four in March then had a quick fire second defence against Frankie Gavin in May (TKO 6).
BoxingScene caught up with the happy, contended IBF titlist at ringside in Liverpool on Friday night to talk about what life is like now he holds a world title.
“I waited for this,” said a beaming Brook. “I was in line for a long time so it’s great that I’m world champion. I’m taking on all-comers and bringing the big fights to Sheffield and England. We’ve got so many world champions now—it’s fantastic for British boxing.
“I knew I’d become world champion. No matter how many backwards steps I took, I knew I’d march forward to what I wanted to get. I want all the world titles and world titles in different weights. I’m happy we finally got here. I’ve finally got my kids living in the best area with my missus and am happy with myself.”
The monetary rewards that come with a big title win means that the recently crowned titlist has been able to move his family to a new home. Like most boxers, Brook grew up hard and he is determined to make sure that his family never wants for anything.
“As a young kid, I always used to drive past this nice area when we were going for Sunday dinner,” he said. “I used to think: ‘One day, I’m going to live in one of these houses’—now I’m living up there. My dream is coming true. I’m looking for massive fights—bring on the big fights, bring on the money. My main priority is to excite the fans with big time boxing.”
Brandon Rios is next on the agenda. However, rumours swept across the Internet earlier today about the possibility of Brook meeting fellow Brit Ashley Theopane on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s next fight, which will take place in Las Vegas on September 12th.
Brook, though, believes that Mayweather, not Theopane, should be the man in the other corner if he fights in America in September. He said: “You never know what’s going to happen in boxing.
“I’m ready to fight on the twelfth of September, I’m scheduled to fight soon so if Floyd wants to fight a welterweight then it’s a natural fight to fight me. If he wants to unify the division, he has to fight me.
“He’s beaten [Manny] Pacquiao and put himself on that pedestal, that higher level, so he can’t fight a mediocre fighter. He needs to fight someone unbeaten who has their own world title. Someone who thinks they’re going to win the fight—and that’s me. If he wants a welterweight, I’m here. If not, I’m ready for Brandon Rios, who is the next in line. ‘Bam Bam’ is saying he’ll do this and that—it’s going to be exciting.”
Amir Khan is also on Brook’s radar. Khan has dissed and dismissed Brook over the past year, stating that they are operating at different levels. In Brook’s eyes, he is a level above Khan in boxing terms, but hopes they can thrash out a deal to please the British fans, fill Wembley Stadium and generate a lot of interest. In his mind, the fight itself is a formality.
“I’ve no idea,” he said when asked why Khan is against the idea of an all-British clash. “You’ve got a world title on the doorstep and massive amounts of money. Your legacy will be cemented. You can fight at Wembley in front of 80,000. It’d be magnificent so why doesn’t he take it? It’s a big fight. Everyone will expect him to lose, but he can move to a new a division when he does. If he fights me I’ll ruin him.”
A few within the trade have wondered whether Khan does not want to run the risk of losing to one of his countrymen. “I think that might be true, to be honest,” said Brook.
“He’s won a few world titles and been up there for a long time, and he’s probably wouldn’t be able to live himself if he lost to another Brit. I’d beat him.”
Whatever happens next, the former British titlist wants to scalp some big names and make the most of the opportunities that will present themselves over the course of his title career. These are the golden years, the opportunity to secure his family’s future and provide a nest egg for the next generations of the Brook family—he intends to do just that.
“I’ve got my family now,” reiterated Brook. “I walk out on my lawn, look back at my house and think: ‘This is what I want to do. I don’t want to go out and about anymore. I want to provide for them’. I want to make sure we can live very comfortably.”
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