If there’s a fight that might not require Dominic Ingle in the corner, or indeed any trainer, it might be Kell Brook’s next one.
Set for December 8, with no opponent announced but rumours very much uninspiring, it should be a routine victory for the former world welterweight champion. A banker home win. Yet the revelation that Ingle, his long-time right-hand man, won’t be there to guide Brook through it is surprising all the same.
It follows whispers suggesting Brook and Ingle had officially split, and comes a day after Michael Zerafa, an unheralded Australian, was touted as the Sheffield junior-middleweight’s December opponent.
“Contrary to some stories and speculation, myself and Dominic Ingle have not fallen out,” Brook wrote on social media. “Dom is as dedicated a trainer as they come. He has been in camp over recent months preparing his fighters for big fights.
“All Dom’s other fighters were schedule to fight from October right through to late December. Some were due to fight on big cards in the U.S. and therefore a training camp out in Toronto was scheduled for their preparation.
“For a number of years now I’ve based myself out in Fuerteventura for my training camps. As I last boxed in March, I wanted to do a lengthier warm weather stint to assist my recovery and preparation for any forthcoming bouts. I understand (because) Dom (is) already committed to the above, he could not make himself available to assist on this occasion for my training camp.”
Clarity, then, of sorts. It’s just a shame a similar approach can’t be taken regarding Brook’s long-awaited showdown with Amir Khan [the latest on that here if still in the mood to care]. If we could just get clarity there, or, better still, progress, we might not have to bother with the likes of Michael Zerafa and Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas. We could simply, you know, cut to the chase.
Bob Ajisafe, the awkward and somewhat underrated former British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion, is returning to the ring on November 17 following an 18-month hiatus and immediately targeting some of the big names domestically. That means you, Joshua Buatsi, and you, Anthony Yarde, and you, Callum Johnson.
The most experienced of the lot, Ajisafe, after a warm up fight at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse next month, is prepared to be the man against whom Buatsi and Yarde try and prove themselves. Johnson, meanwhile, possesses a title, the coveted Lonsdale belt, Ajisafe once called his own.
“I’d fight any of them, and I’m confident I could beat all of them,” said Ajisafe, 17-3 (7). “Buatsi is up and coming and looks a good prospect, and I’d love a fight with Callum Johnson.
“I’ve seen a few of Anthony Yarde’s fights, but who has he really fought? He hasn’t fought anyone in the top ten; he’s got a good ranking with the WBO because his promoter has pushed him down that route, but who has he fought domestically?
“He hasn’t even won a domestic title, apart from the Southern Area. When is he actually going to fight someone credible? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the process and they’re building him up, but I’d happily take that fight.”
Ajisafe, now 33, has previously defeated the likes of Travis Dickinson, Dean Francis and Ovill McKenzie. He even once floored Tony Bellew in a losing effort in 2010.
Now, with niggling injuries a thing of the past, he’s looking to advance beyond domestic and Commonwealth title level and fulfil his dream of landing European and perhaps even world honours.
“I want to get as many big fights as I can,” he said. “I’d love to get the European title, and I’d like a world title shot again [he boxed for the lesser-regarded IBO light-heavyweight title in 2016]. I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished in my career so far, but there’s more to come. I know I’m still not finished.
“If my career can be moved on and I get the right opportunities, I feel like I have a lot left. Steve [Wood, manager] has been trying to get me work but he knows no one wants to fight me and it’s difficult for him. But I’m a loyal person and I’m confident he can do it.
“I’ll fight at cruiserweight or I can get down to light-heavyweight. I’m not going to burn myself out, though, if there aren’t any suitable opportunities at light-heavy.”
Stylistically, he will never be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s good to have Bob back. Important, too, given the number of unproven domestic light-heavyweights in need of testing. In Bob Ajisafe, we may have found – nay, rediscovered – just the man.