THERE was more than a small murmur of surprise when it was announced that Kell Brook would not be working with his usual trainer Dominic Ingle for his upcoming test against Michael Zerafa on December 8 in Sheffield.
But for the man leading the corner that night, John Fewkes, it was an opportunity that the former English title challenger, who retired in 2014 with a record of 21-2-2, couldn’t turn down. Fewkes, a long time friend of Brook’s told Boxing News how the partnership came about.
Fewkes told News: “I’ve known Kell for a long time, since he was around 15 and we text regularly just as friends. Then he texted me totally out of the blue five weeks ago to see if he could come and work with me and stay in shape, as at that point this fight with Zerafa wasn’t made.
“So we worked together for a week and then he asked me to come out to Fuerteventura with him, as that where he has trained for the past seven or eight years. Now we’ve got a date and he’s flying in the gym ahead of what should be a good night on December 8.”
Fewkes is adamant that the fighter-trainer partnership is only for this fight on December 8 and that anything after the clash with Zerafa won’t be discussed, as Brook will head back to the Ingle Gym in Wincobank.
He also explains why he believes that “The Special One” decided to pick him as the lead in his corner, after seeing a raft of criticism when the 32-year-old former IBF welterweight champion announced that the pair would be working together.
“I will be training Kell for this fight. He asked me to take over and that’s what I’m going to do and anything that happens after is nothing to do with me for now. As far as I’m aware, Kell and Dom were working on very different schedules and Dom is so busy with all his other fighters it just wouldn’t have worked for either of them.
“But, it’s fallen right for me and I’m over the moon. We’re from the same sort of era and Kell knows how I read the sport, so I’m grateful he took the time to think of me. We bounce off each other well and he’s doing well in the gym, which shows that I’m doing my job well.
“I saw a lot of comments about me and Kell after it was announced. It seems that people think I’ve only just started doing this, but I’ve been in the gym for 22 years, since I was 10 years old. I’ve been in and around all levels of the sport at the SBC Unit in Sheffield, so I’ve not just popped up out of nowhere.”
Fewkes is also placing a huge emphasis on not looking past Zerafa, a former Commonwealth champion at super-welterweight and is referring to the fight with Brook as the Australian’s world title fight.
The talk of the much hyped affair between Brook and bitter rival Amir Khan is building by the week, but Fewkes is confident that the Sheffield man will not lose his focus as the Zerafa looms ever closer.
“For Michael Zerafa, the fight on December 8 is his world title fight and that is the same for whoever Kell fights. He’s won 22 out of 24 and been in with the likes of Peter Quillin, so he’s no mug. Kell needs to be 100% switched on because if he isn’t and takes Michael lightly, then any big fight, whether it be Khan or a world title fight, is out of the window.
“For Kell, and for any boxer, the important thing is simply remaining active and boxing. Boxers need to box, not wait around for a big pay-day, which a lot of other fighters are doing now, as the money some of them get is massive.
“You need to worry about yourself in boxing and for Kell, he is also still coming back from his losses to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence. Since then he has two rounds, where he did a good job on Sergey Rabchenko, who was billed as a tough guy.
“He’s still healing up after the operations and most importantly repairing his ego after the consecutive defeats. He is pretty much a complete fighter, so I’m adding some little bits to him with a fresh outlook. Once he’s back firing on all cylinders, I wonder how good he will actually be.”