SHOWTIME Sports will present the Sky Sports telecast of the IBF Welterweight World Championship between defending champion and hometown favorite Kell Brook and No. 1 challenger Jo Jo Dan on Saturday, March 28, live on SHOWTIME at 6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT from the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England.
Later that evening, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), WBC Featherweight Champion Jhonny Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KOs), of Mexico City, will defend his 126-pound belt against quick-fisted southpaw Gary Russell Jnr. (25-1, 14 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Md., in the main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. In the co-feature, from The Pearl at Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas, undefeated world-ranked contender Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (25-0, 11 KOs), of Houston, faces experienced 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 KOs), of Glendale, Calif., in a 10-round super welterweight showdown.
SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL Brook vs. Dan will replay immediately following the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast.
Brook’s upcoming title defense, promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, will be a raucous homecoming for the popular Brit, who last fought in Sheffield in October 2013. Billed as “Unbreakable” in the U.K., the event is also Brook’s comeback fight after getting attacked while on vacation last September.”
“March 28 will be an emotional night for Kell and the team. I remember being by his bedside in September in a Spanish hospital after that horrific knife attack, it looked like his career was over,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sports. “He has shown incredible physical and mental strength and looks better than ever in camp. Fans on Showtime will get to see in my opinion the best 147 pounder in the World light up a 10,000 sell out arena on March 28—don’t miss it!”
Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) of Sheffield, England, will be making his first start and initial defense of the 147-pound title he took from previously undefeated Shawn Porter via a 12-round majority decision last Aug. 16 in Carson, Calif., on SHOWTIME. In an impressive performance in his long-awaited shot at a world championship, Brook, 28, won clearly on two of the scorecards (117-111, 116-112) while the third judge had it even (114-114).
“After everything that’s happened over the last six months, it feels incredible knowing I will be defending my World title in Sheffield,” said Brook. “I’m not looking past JoJo I know he will bring the heat but I want to get this mandatory defence done and then target those mega-fights that are out there in the division. I know he feels he worked so hard to get into the mandatory position just like I did, but I will be working twice as hard to keep the belt that I earned. After May 2nd, there will only be two champions in the division—myself and Floyd or Manny. I want to unify this division in style. I’m coming for them all.”
Dan (34-2, 18 KOs), of Quebec, Canada, has won five in a row and eight of his last nine. The 33-year-old earned the crack at the crown with a 12-round split decision over Kevin Bizier in an elimination bout last Dec. 19 on SHOWTIME. Dan also won a split decision over the then-unbeaten Bizier on Nov. 30, 2013.
A native of Romania, the crowd-pleasing Dan, whose full name is Ionut Dan Ion, has lived and trained in Montreal since his pro debut in April 2004. The only blemishes on the southpaw’s record are a pair of close, controversial decision losses to then-undefeated contender Selcuk Aydin –the first in 2010 and the second in 2011– both in Aydin’s native Turkey.
“Kell has not fought anyone like me,” Dan said. “I believe in myself and I don’t think he can bring anything I can’t deal with on fight night. I saw his last fight where he won the world title and it was a great performance, but I just let my team study him in depth and come up with a winning strategy.
“I have waited a long time to get a world title shot so I am determined to take advantage of this opportunity. My prediction for the fight is simple –Jo Jo Dan becomes the new IBF Welterweight World champion.”