Kell Brook ahead of his first IBF welterweight title defence against Jo Jo Dan on Saturday

Interview: Kell Brook

Born and bred Sheffielder Kell Brook won his first IBF Welterweight titles back in August 2014 and remains unbeaten after 35 fights. The past year has been a true test of his passion and commitment to the sport, after Brook was the victim of a random stabbing in September 2014 while on holiday. In an amazing recovery, he returned this year to successfully defend his title on two occasions. Now Kell’s back in the ring again this month for a third defence, facing off Argentine Diego Chaves at Sheffield Arena on October 24.

Touted by Eddie Hearn as the best 147lb fighter in the UK, Brook started training at the famous Ingle Gym in Wincobank, which has produced other local boxing heroes such as Prince Naseem, Johnny Nelson and Junior Witter. Dominic Ingle, son of gym owner and legendary boxing mentor Brendan Ingle, is Kell’s trainer and has every faith in his fighter’s ability, “everybody thinks they can find a chink in his armour, but once he gets in the ring, it’s a different story,” he told press at the pre-match conference.

Addressing Chaves’ fighting talk about his abilities, Brook said: “They all have a game plan when they get in the ring, and Chaves might like to say I’m slow and can’t take body shots and everything else, but I’ve got the best jab in boxing. When Chaves tastes the ‘chocolate brownie right hand’, he’s going to know he’s in a real fight.

“It’s really down to me to make a statement with this fight, so there’s a lot of pressure on me, but I perform well under pressure. It only takes a round or two for me to adapt my style once I know what my opponents doing.”

Beth Maguire had a quick chat with Kell about the upcoming fight, and how it feels to bring boxing home.

How’s the preparation going? Give us a run-through of your daily routine…
Preparation’s going fine! A daily routine can be sparring in the mornings, followed by bags and pad work, sit ups, and then later on recovery sessions, working on groundwork and a bit of jogging and skill work.

How does that preparation change when you enter the final month before the fight?
The nearer the fight gets, it becomes more intense. As we get closer, we start to think more about recovery, so the focus is on sleeping and winding down, because you’ve done all the hard training and need to recover properly so you don’t harm your chances.

It’s been a busy year for you – this being your third title defence in seven months – was it always the plan to hit the ground running following the injury you sustained last year?
Yeah, it was all about making back lost time and getting as many fights in as possible, and just getting myself back out there. The challenges were getting back on my feet, actually walking again with baby steps, and to start running and getting back to where I was. It’s been a rollercoaster, but here we are today, defending the title.

How much does it mean to you to be back in Sheffield for the defence of the title?
I’m really happy that we’re bringing big-time boxing to Sheffield and Chaves always likes to bring the heat, so Sheffield fans are in for a treat because when it gets tough in there, I come to fight. I’m excited for the team and look forward to be defending the title here, and to put on a show for everyone.

You’ve been very vocal about wanting a big name fight soon. After you’ve faced Diego Chaves, who would be your pick of fighters to face?
Well I’m looking to make a legacy with this fight and definitely want to move on to the big names; I want the Pacquiaos, the Bradleys – and the Khans. This is going to be the fight that really propels me to the next level with the massive fights, and doing a job on Chaves is going to get me there.

You’ve spoken before about getting a big fight at Bramall Lane. Is that still something you’d be interested in?
Yeah, I’m very excited about that – we were actually talking about it with organisers yesterday, and I still very much want that fight to happen, maybe next year. I’d want to fight a big name to fill up the arena, that would be my ideal venue, and it would be really good to bring a fight like that to Sheffield at the Lane.

Catch the fight between Kell Brook and Diego Chaves at Sheffield Arena on October 24. Find tickets and info at www.sheffieldarena.co.uk.




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