KELL BROOK’S heartache in losing his IBF welterweight title in his home city of Sheffield has been compounded by the news he is facing another operation to repair a broken eye socket.
Brook battled valiantly against Errol Spence Jr and more than matched his American foe for the large majority of the bout, but significant swelling around his left eye sustained in the seventh round took a severe toll.
He was knocked down in the 10th before taking a knee under no undue pressure in the following round, with referee Howard Foster calling a halt to proceedings at Bramall Lane.
The 31-year-old revealed on Sunday that he had sustained an identical injury to the one inflicted by middleweight king Gennady Golovkin eight months ago – albeit to the opposite eye broken by the Kazakh, nicknamed GGG.
Brook had a metal plate inserted into his face following the Golovkin defeat and is set to go under the surgeon’s knife once more, while it seems unlikely he will box again this year.
“The eye is broken again, the same as the GGG one, I need surgery again and I am devastated. It kept going to double vision and that’s why I went down on one knee,” Brook said on Sky Sports News HQ.
Brook also admitted he had the words of his surgeon ringing in his ears following his fifth-round stoppage defeat to Golovkin in his last bout.
“I remember the surgeon telling me if I’d have gone a round or so extra (against Golovkin) I could have gone blind and I had that in my mind,” he added.
His promoter Eddie Hearn acknowledged it will be another long road to recovery for Brook.
“It’s a big blow to his career. There was a lot of pain going through the first one and now he’s got to go through another one, but that’s boxing,” he said.
“It was caused by Errol Spence who is a great fighter and the better man won.”
It was a second successive defeat for Brook (36-2, 25KOs), who was down on all three of the judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage, after coming back down two weight classes to defend his title.
“I felt I was in the fight, but I live to fight another day,” he said. “I’m gutted in front of my own fans in the steel city of Sheffield that I’ve lost my belt, I’m devastated.”
Brook made the 147lbs weight limit after a gruelling 12-week camp at his training base in Fuerteventura, but seemed to tire as the bout wore on following Spence Jr’s concerted attacks to the body.
Hearn refused to countenance the drop in weight as an excuse for the loss to the Texan, but, while Brook insisted in the immediate aftermath that he can still campaign at welterweight, his promoter thinks he should be moving up when he returns to action.
When asked whether Brook was finished in the weight class, Hearn replied at the post-fight press conference: “Yeah. We said before there would be no excuses about the weight. He didn’t make the weight horrifically, he just made it the same way he’s made it every other time.
“We were quite happy with how he made the weight. But he’s 30-odd now.”