By Elliot Foster
Kell Brook will make his long-awaited ring return in the first half of 2018.
The Sheffield man, a former IBF welterweight world champion, will make his comeback in his home city.
Brook has been out of the ring since losing his crown to Errol Spence Jr. at Bramall Lane in May.
But the 31-year-old will return at the Sheffield Arena on March 3, with the fight likely to be screened exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter, confirmed the ‘The Special One’ (36-2, 25 KOs) will make his return at super-welterweight after outgrowing the welterweight division in which he had previously been so successful.
"He's going to be back," Hearn told talkSPORT in an interview on Wednesday.
"March 3, Sheffield Arena, Kell Brook will be back at 154 pounds, the light-middleweight division, to begin his assault on becoming a two-weight world champion.”
Brook, in 2016, jumped up two divisions to middleweight when he unsuccessfully challenged Gennady Golovkin for the WBC, WBA ‘Super’, IBO and IBF titles at the O2 Arena in London.
"He's had two epic fights with Errol Spence and Gennady Golovkin,” Hearn added. “And it's time for him to move up, his body needs to move up to 154 pounds.
"I believe he can be a force at that weight."
An official announcement on the return of Brook is expected by Hearn and Matchroom in due course.
IN OTHER NEWS: Natasha Jonas will still fight this year, despite the collapse of her pay-per-view fight.
The Liverpool lightweight, 33, had been set to feature on the Sky Sports Box Office-aired undercard to Tony Bellew’s heavyweight rematch against David Haye.
But after that fight, which was scheduled for December 17 at the O2 Arena in London, was cancelled due to Haye suffering a torn left bicep, it left a number of undercard fighters in limbo as to what would happen for them in terms of fighting this side of Christmas.
Rocky Fielding, who had been set to take on Erik Skoglund for the vacant WBC Silver super-middleweight title, and Craig Glover were both victims of the rescheduling issues, with it looking like the pair will have to wait until 2018 before they see action again.
Conor Benn and Josh Kelly, both of whom were meant to feature, have been more fortunate after being added to the same bill as Katie Taylor’s first WBA female lightweight title defence against Jessica McCaskill at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, exclusively live on Sky Sports, on December 13.
And ‘Miss GB’ Jonas has been one of the lucky ones after it was revealed that she will fight on December 16 at Oldham Leisure Centre, as part of the Black Flash Promotions ‘Young Guns Series’ card.
Tickets, priced at £40 and £70, are available directly from those on the bill, via www.iboxingtickets.com or from Collyhurst & Moston ABC.