Defending IBF Welterweight World Champion and hometown favorite Kell Brook and No. 1 challenger Jo Jo Dan made weight Friday.
Tomorrow/Saturday, SHOWTIME Sports® will present the Sky Sports telecast of Brook vs. Dan live on SHOWTIME (6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT) from the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England. Sky Sports’ Jim Watt and Nick Halling will call the action from ringside.
Brook, of Sheffield, weighed 145½ pounds for his first title defense; Dan, a Romanian who now lives in Montreal, Canada, tipped the scales at 146¼ pounds.
Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) will defend the IBF 147-pound crown he took from previously undefeated Shawn Porter last August on SHOWTIME. Two weeks later, Brook was hospitalized with career-threatening injuries after getting stabbed in the thigh during a holiday in Spain.
Dan (34-2, 18 KOs) has won five in a row and eight of his last nine. He is the first Romanian- based Canadian to compete in a world title fight in England since Lucian Bute lost his IBF super middleweight crown to Carl Froch in five rounds in 2012.
Later Saturday evening on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® (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 Jr. (25-1, 14 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Md. In the co-feature, from The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, undefeated world-ranked Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (25-0, 11 KOs), of Houston, faces the more experienced once-beaten Vanes Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 KOs), of Glendale, Calif., in a 10-round bout for the WBO Intercontinental super welterweight championship.
(Selected press conference quotes):
KELL BROOK, IBF Welterweight Champion
“Every day has been a challenge, but we have done it. It’s amazing for me to defend the world title in Sheffield. I will be there knowing that I was meant to do this and I belong at the elite level.
“I’ve come a long way, fighting on undercards and in leisure centres to packing out this arena as a world champion. It took me a long time to get that belt and there is no way on earth that Jo Jo Dan is taking it off me, not a prayer. I am going in there to excite; you’ll see flash and power. I’ve kept the fans waiting too long to fight again and I owe them a big performance. If Jo Jo does what he says he’s going to do and bring the fight to me, the fans are in for a treat because you know how I fight.
“He looks like a man that has come to win. He’s the mandatory challenger like I was against [Shawn] Porter and I took the title off him. It’s every fighter’s dream to challenge for a world title and to take it, so I know that he’s put in 100 percent in the gym and he will leave it all in the ring tomorrow night.
“I would never overlook Jo Jo. It’s happened too many times in boxing that fighters are thinking about another fight and they lose the one in front of them. I am focused on him and making sure I take care of business. He’ll bring his best and I will bring my best, and I’ll show everyone why I am special. I am looking to knock him out.”
JO JO DAN, IBF No. 1 Contender and Mandatory Challenger
“I feel great and I am in the best shape of my life. I cannot wait for tomorrow.
“I know what Kell’s strengths and weaknesses are and I’ll show that in the ring. He was impressive against Porter but I am ready to adjust to whatever he can bring and I am ready for 12 hard rounds.
“I am concentrating on Kell Brook. I will get booed, he will get cheered — I don’t care about that, I’m so confident of winning that title.”