KELL BROOK is making up for lost time. Now recovered from the machete attack that nearly killed him, the Sheffield man defended his IBF welterweight world title in his hometown on March 28 and will be out as soon as May 30 to box Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin at the O2 in London.
After hammering Jo Jo Dan to defeat inside four rounds, Brook went straight into training camp. “There’s no rest for the wicked,” he told Boxing News. “I get punched in the face for a living, I love my sport, it’s what I live for, I’m back in the gym working hard.
“I was so keen because I’ve been sat in the dark too long. I’ve been world champion but I’ve not been able to do anything because of my leg. Now I’m back fit and ready I want to give the fans world championship boxing at the highest level.”
He has made clear his desire to fight Amir Khan or another big name in the summer but also believes he is making a statement by fighting regularly. Indeed the winner is expected to take on Brandon Rios in July or August. “Fighting regularly, building your profile and showing what you can do in the ring. When you fight the more elite guys, the more well known, high profile names, they’re going to bring the best out of you. The more active I am the better. I’m going to be growing in confidence, growing and growing,” he said.
“My confidence is going to keep growing, I’m showing that I’m levels above all these opponents, how I’m getting rid of them. Frankie Gavin, I know that he’s going to come to win, he’s wanted this fight for a long time, he believes he can beat me. So I’m giving another Brit the opportunity to win a world title.”
The Sheffield man suggests that this fight also sends a message to Amir Khan. “Frankie Gavin is the only Brit out there with the balls to get in with me. That other kid from Bolton doesn’t fancy the job. I take my hat off to Frankie for taking this fight. It’s an opportunity for him, you’ve got to take it with both hands. If that was presented to me, I’d do the same,” Brook said, but he added, “I respect Frankie for getting in [but] I’m going in there to hurt him in there, there’s no friendliness. He’s trying to take money off my two little girls. It took me a long time to be a world champion, there’s no way that I’m lying down
“If he comes to fight, I’m going to knock him out. If he tries to kid his way through it, I’ll find a way to knock him out. I believe I’m going to get rid of him. I’m going to make a statement, I’m fit, I’m healthy, I’m coming forward to win.
“It’s all about momentum. I stacked it up in Sheffield and I’m stacking it up at the O2 Arena.”
Brook-Gavin is on a pay-per-view bill that features Jorge Linares-Kevin Mitchell for the WBC lightweight title, Evgeny Gradovich-Lee Selby for the IBF featherweight title, two British title fights in Scott Cardle-Craig Evans and John Ryder-Nick Blackwell as well as Anthony Joshua’s delayed test against Kevin Johnson. “The fight week is going to be really special when they all come in with their teams, Gradovich-Selby is a proper fight, Mitchell-Linares is a proper fight,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “I know it’s a really tough fight for [Frankie Gavin] but he fancies it. He’s the reason it got made. He pushed me for it. It’s nine months before I anticipated it happening.”
But once Gavin was offered an IBF title eliminator with Tim Bradley “it all folded into one. He was always fighting [Chris] Van Heerden so I never really considered him for the 30th. Then I started looking at Diego Chaves, Antonin Decarie and he went, Why don’t you just put me in there?’
“‘I know I’ve got a much better chin than Amir Khan,’ that’s what he said. He said, ‘Khan couldn’t stand up to Brook’s power but I think I can.’
“He’s there [in the rankings] and the fighters we were looking at to put Kell in are ranked further down than him. So it came from him,” Hearn explained.
“Mitchell-Linares I just think it’s such a good fight and the opportunity came up with Kell. You’ve got two Brits [Selby and Mitchell] challenging arguably one of the best in their divisions, challenging world champions and you’ve got a domestic welterweight world championship where the other two [champions] are Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.”