There was a time when Kell Brook was resigned to the thought that he would never fight Amir Khan.
Brook contends that he always wanted the fight, whereas Khan came up with numerous excuses to avoid boxing his British rival until he finally agreed last fall to box Brook on Saturday night in Manchester, England. The 35-year-old Brook recalled that he first targeted Khan after the Sheffield native defeated Shawn Porter by majority decision in August 2014 to win the IBF welterweight title at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
“It’s been going on for years, like I said,” Brook told BoxingScene.com. “And as soon as I beat Shawn Porter in America, I called him out. He was in Sky [Sports’] studios, watching, and he accepted the challenge. But nothing ever came of it. And there’s been numerous occasions when he’s passed on the chance to have this fight. So, you know, I never thought that he’d take the fight. But it’s better late than never, and we finally got the fight that I’ve wanted for many years for the fans and me self.”
Khan, who is also 35, contended in a separate interview with BoxingScene.com that it is Brook, not him, that is to blame for their fight failing to materialize until now.
Most sportsbooks list Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) as a slight favorite over Khan (34-5, 21 KOs), who will end a 2½-year layoff when he battles Brook in their 12-round, 149-pound bout at AO Arena in Manchester, England. The last time Brook boxed, Terence Crawford stopped him in the fourth round of their fight for Crawford’s WBO welterweight title in November 2020 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Though neither fighter is considered the best boxing version of himself anymore, many British fans cannot wait to watch them finally fight. Tickets for their domestic showdown sold out in approximately 10 minutes December 13.
“I’m very excited,” Brook said. “It’s a fight that I’ve wanted for over a decade. And, you know, it’s not too long to wait now. I’m very excited that this fight has finally come up and we’re finally gonna get to see the fight we’ve wanted for many years.”
Khan-Brook will be the main event of a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view show in the United Kingdom and Ireland (£19.95; 6 p.m. GMT). ESPN+ will stream it as a main event in the United States (1 p.m. ET; 10 a.m. PT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.