Tuesday, March 28, 2023  |



Kell Brook challenges Amir Khan to summer showdown

Fighters Network
Brook easily defeated mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan in four rounds on Saturday - Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

Brook easily defeated mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan in four rounds on Saturday – Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

IBF welterweight titleholder Kell Brook resumed his perfect career last weekend, with a successful first title defense in his home city of Sheffield, England, and then reiterated his challenge to Amir Khan to face him in a highly-anticipated all-British summer blockbuster.

So too did Brook’s Matchroom promoter, Eddie Hearn. In the MotorPoint Arena ring, to be exact, live on Sky Sports immediately after the undefeated 28-year-old English star had stopped Romanian Jo Jo Dan with 12 minutes of brutal unanswered punishment, in the process demonstrating he has fully recovered from the horrific life- and career-threatening knife attack on him seven months earlier in Tenerife, Spain.

But while Khan has long been on Brook’s agenda — he first started calling out his Bolton rival three years ago — this latest public taunt to lure him into action was delivered with one noticeable difference. This time may well be the last time Khan is offered the opportunity to face Brook, in the foreseeable future at least.

Hearn had already made that very clear in the build-up Saturday’s action when stating Brook is getting bored of waiting, and that they believe the only reason for Khan’s constant refusal to take a money-spinning fight is he is deliberately sidestepping it over fears defeat would destroy his career at the elite level.

It’s a point Brook (34-0, 23 knockouts) echoed during an interview with Sky Sports News HQ 24 hours on from his 5th-round TKO of a thoroughly-outclassed Dan (34-3, 18 KOs).

“It doesn’t make sense to me because there’s a belt on the line,” said THE RING’s No. 2-ranked welterweight. “I’m giving him an opportunity with a belt – and there’s going to be a lot of money there for him, probably the most he’s earned in a fight.

“It’s in Britain — it’s the War of the Roses — it’s a very exciting fight. I don’t know why he just doesn’t take the fight. It baffles me. I think he knows that he’s delicate around the whiskers. I keep saying that.

“After I’ve done with Khan, he’s going to be a mere memory. It’s just a matter of time before he’s forced into that fight because of the public demand and we see him on the canvas once again.”

Khan’s initial response to Brook’s performance was a somewhat barbed comment on Twitter.

“Well done, Kell. Nice to see you back in the ring. ÔǬ#EasyWork,” said the former junior welterweight holder minutes after Brook’s triumph.

On Monday, though, Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) responded to Brook’s call out in a longer interview with ESPN.

“He’s only beaten one good fighter in (Shawn) Porter,” Khan said. “He needs some good wins against the likes of (Brandon) Rios, (Juan Manuel) Marquez, (Keith) Thurman, (Marcos) Maidana — and then the fight will be even bigger.

“I’d love to shut him up. Why give someone a payday when they constantly disrespect you all the time? The fight will happen ÔǪ when it’s meant to happen. Before the fight, he said I bring nothing to the table, no title and he doesn’t need to fight me as he’s the champion. Now he’s calling me out.”

June 2 at Wembley Stadium is the date and place Hearn has in mind for the grudge showdown. It would no doubt be another massive pay-per-view event on Sky Sports Box Office, and one to rival the hugely-successful Carl Froch-George Groves II which was staged at the 82,000-capacity England football stadium in May 2014.

When asked about the lucrative nature of a domestic title scrap versus Brook, Khan, THE RING’s No. 3 at 147 pounds, seemed to back track on his earlier message as he hinted he and advisers would be interested in beginning negotiations.

“I agree — will start the talks,” said 28-year-old Khan.


Harry Pratt is on Twitter: @gharrypratt