Kell Brook knows there is much at stake as he makes his light-middleweight bow this weekend and believes the experience will be akin to making his professional debut. Photos by Lawrence Lustig.
Brook returns to the ring in his native Sheffield to take on Sergey Rabchenko in his first bout since losing his IBF welterweight title to Errol Spence last May.
The Spence defeat came after Brook failed in his middleweight challenge against Gennady Golovkin in September 2016, but the 31-year-old insists he has not sought an easy comeback as he bids to get back into the win column.
Instead, Brook believes the danger posed by Belorussian fighter Rabchenko, who has lost only twice in his 31 contests in the paid ranks, will provide the impetus for him to put in a stand-out display.
He said: “I’ve got the butterflies and nerves just like it’s my first time getting in there. I think that I need to feel like that though, those nerves are going to make me sharper because I know that there’s a lot at stake on Saturday.
“There was a list of fighters in front of us and Rabchenko stood out. He’s a very dangerous fighter and the fans might have let me off fighting someone lesser than him, but I wanted to fight him because I need to come back in a serious fight to stay switched on and not cut corners in the gym.
“You have to be professional but with a lesser opponent I might have enjoyed Christmas a bit more but not with Rabchenko, he’s a real threat.
“He’s a handful and he’s tough and clever. He’s calm and thoughtful in a fight, and I need a test like this. I can’t be half-hearted, I need to be fully committed and I will be for Rabchenko.”