Kell Brook admits his loss to Errol Spence Jr was the lowest point in his career – but he’s back in love with boxing again and ready to take the Super-Welterweight division by storm as he faces Sergey Rabchenko for the WBC Silver Heavyweight title at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Brook surrendered his IBF Welterweight crown against talented American Spence Jr at Bramall Lane in May, and the Steel City hero found life tough after losing his status as a world ruler.
‘The Special One’ fractured his left eye in the bout to match the same injury to the once Gennady Golovkin inflicted on his right eye in their encounter in September 2016. While doctors gave him the all-clear to fight again, Brook himself doubted if he still had the desire to get in the ring – but after a full camp in the buzzing Ingle Gym, he’s ready to put the defeats behind him and become a force at 154lbs.
“I’m not used losing but I’ve had two in a row,” said Brook. “The first one I jumped up to Middleweight from Welterweight against the most feared man in world boxing in GGG so you can’t really take that as a loss really as it wasn’t my natural weight and it was a risk. Losing to Spence is a different kettle of fish as it was at Welterweight and the other eye got smashed in and I lost my World title.
“That really hurt me badly, it took me a long time to get over that. I know that I’ve got a lot left in me, people are right to question what I’ve got left and how I am going to be after the injuries and the defeats, but I believe I am going to be the same fighter, I’ll be better in fact with the bigger weight which will bring the best out of me, but we can only see Rabchenko. I’m up for the challenge at the new weight though.
“I do regret the Spence fight looking back. I was in Sheffield, we’d sold a load of tickets and we were in a football stadium – but going from Middleweight down to Welterweight was too much and it just drained me. But I was a proud champion and I never duck anyone, Errol is a class act and will dominate at 147lbs – hopefully I can get the rematch at Super-Welterweight though.
“I’m built to box. I’ll be fresher at Super-Welterweight and I won’t be drained like I was at 147lbs. Being IBF champion also meant I was having to weigh-in again the next morning with the ten-pound limit, so it was like I was fighting the scales twice and then fighting my opponent.
“I didn’t want an easy fight back, if I had done, I could’ve fallen out of love with it, cut corners and not reached the heights in training that I need to reach to be the best Kell Brook. Rabchenko is a dangerous guy, he’s no mug and he can really bang. I’ve sparred with him and if you were to go on the sparring, it’s going to be one hell of a fight.
“I’m loving boxing again and things can change, and I still feel that I’ve got big fights left in me before I call it a day. I’d love to win a World title at Super-Welterweight.
“The eye has healed very well. It’s held up in sparring and I don’t think about the eye injuries at all. I wouldn’t be boxing if I wasn’t given the all clear by the doctors, I wouldn’t put my family or myself through that.”
Kell Brook: This Feels Like My Debut All Over Again
Kell Brook says he feels like he’s fighting for the first time in his career all over again as he moves up to Super-Welterweight to take on Sergey Rabchenko for the WBC Silver title at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.
Brook is tackling a fight at 154lbs for the first time in his career having left Welterweight behind after three years as the IBF ruler.
‘The Special One’ expects to shine with the extra seven pounds behind him, but admits the nerves ahead of his return to action on Saturday remind him of making his debut in September 2004.
“I’ve got the butterflies and nerves just like it’s my first time getting in there,” said Brook. “I think that I need to feel like that though, those nerves are going to make me sharper because I know that there’s a lot at stake on Saturday.
“I’m loving boxing again and things can change, and I still feel that I’ve got big fights left in me before I call it a day. I’d love to win a title at Super-Welterweight.
“There was a list of fighters in front of us and Rabchenko stood out. He’s a very dangerous fighter and the fans might have let me off fighting someone lesser than him, but I wanted to fight him because I need to come back in a serious fight to stay switched on and not cut corners in the gym.
“You have to be professional but with a lesser opponent I might have enjoyed Christmas a bit more but not with Rabchenko, he’s a real threat. He’s boxed at a high level, been European champion, beaten my mate Ryan Rhodes – Ryan has boxed Canelo so to be stopped by Rabchenko it shows he is a good fighter and this is the right test for me in my first fight at 154lbs.
“Eddie named other fighters but I said no. I know that he’s a handful and he’s tough and clever. He’s calm and thoughtful in a fight, and I need a test like this. I can’t be half-hearted, I need to be fully committed and I will be for Rabchenko.”
Ryan Rhodes knows first-hand the threat that Sergey Rabchenko poses to Kell Brook as they clash for the WBC Silver Super-Welterweight title on Saturday night at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, live on Sky Sports – but expects Brook to shine on his debut at 154lbs.
Sheffield star Rhodes met the Belarussian in June 2012 for the European Super-Welterweight title in Manchester, with Rabchenko stopping Rhodes with a body shot at the end of the seventh round.
Rabchenko now meets Rhodes’ fellow Steel City son Brook in ‘The Special One’s’ first fight at him new weight, and the ‘Spice Boy’ expects his fellow Ingle Gym product to prevail but says Rabchenko is a dangerous customer.
“Rabchenko is a good fighter,” said Rhodes. “He’s strong, got a bit of a dig on him and when he’s on song he’s a handful. He was on a bit of a high when I boxed him, Ricky Hatton was looking after him at the time and was keeping him active.
“Sergey can take a shot as well. I caught him with a big shot in the third round and his legs dipped but credit to him – he rode the storm and ended up recovering to get the win.
“I was 95 years old and in my 293rd fight when I fought Rabchenko, so Kell has nothing to worry about! I was coming to the latter stages of my career. There wasn’t much in the fight, it was back and forth and then he caught me with a sickening body shot.
“One thing Kell will find is that he’s there to be hit. He stands in front of you all the time, he won’t move that much. It might be that Kell takes a shot to give one back.
“I was at a couple of Rabchenko fights before we fought, I knew it was going to happen so studied him up close and personal. The one thing that stood out was his movement. I planned to be as elusive as possible, make sure I’m not there to get hit and counter.
“Kell seems to be hungry again. You can’t worry about these ifs and buts, he looks happy at the minute and confident with that little bit of extra weight. I know how badly Kell struggled at times to make 147lbs. He’s got that extra 7lbs to play with which will be a massive difference.
“Kell could have gone for an easier touch for his first fight at the new weight but it’s a name and decent test. Sergey won the WBC Silver title and has only lost to two decent kids.
“Kell doesn’t want to be in this game for too many more years so there’s no point in taking an easy ride. He won’t learn anything from that at this stage of his career. He’s coming back for a test and hopefully it goes rounds.
“They’ve sparred so Kell will know what he’s like. I’m pretty sure I saw them both spar years ago, Kell had the edge from what I remember. It was a tough spar but Brook had the advantage in every department.
“I think it’ll either be a late stoppage or go the distance. Rabchenko knows Kell’s his golden ticket and might be a little cagey. It’s a massive opportunity for him and catapults him into the mix. If I’m honest, Kell will have too much for him. His speed, accuracy, counter punching should be too much for him.
“There’s some big fights for Kell out there – with or without World titles. The Charlo brothers are great fighters, Liam Williams I think would be a barnstormer and of course Amir Khan. If Khan does go ahead, I just hope Kell stands his ground a little and they can meet at a catchweight. I wouldn’t like to see drain himself anymore and it’s not as if Khan hasn’t gone up in weight. I’m sure Khan would make some serious money like the Canelo fight and it’s a fight the fans still talk about.”
Brook and Rabchenko clash on a huge night of action in the Steel City with the chief support provided by a crunch showdown between world-rated Super-Bantamweights Gamal Yafai and Gavin McDonnell.
David Allen is hunting revenge in his rematch with Commonwealth Heavyweight champion Lenroy Thomas, Rotherham Lightweight rivals Lee Appleyard and Atif Shafiq lock horns while Kid Galahad aims to get into the title mix at Featherweight after a meeting with Irving Berry – Leigh Wood and Rocky Fielding complete the line-up.
Tickets Brook’s clash with Rabchenko are priced £40, £60, £80, £100, £150 and £250 VIP and are available from the FlyDSA Arena at www.flydsaarena.co.uk and on 0114 2565656. VIP tickets are exclusively available from www.matchroomboxing.com