A rejuvenated Kell Brook regrets fighting Errol Spence Jr in his next fight after GGG Gennady Golovkin
It now looks as if Kell Brook will return early in the New Year from what has been a year on the shelf. Back in the Ingle gym, his spiritual home, and all the happier for it, Brook is training hard on a daily basis and believes he has enough in the tank for one last run at the highest level. He has also found time to reflect on the loss of his IBF welterweight title back in 2017, ceding the strap to Errol Spence just eight months after an ill-fated trip to 160lbs that saw him fall to GGG Gennady Golovkin. The consecutive defeats – the only ones on Brook’s ledger – saw him fracture one of his eye sockets in each fight. Going in with Spence straight after the Kazakh is a move Brook now laments.
“Looking back now, obviously I regret it a lot,” he told me. “Everyone thought I’d give that title up, I actually got offered six figures to give it up. But I earned it… all the pullouts of [former champion] Devon Alexander [when Brook was mandatory], all the struggle to get hold of it. I remember a conversation with Eddie, where he said, ‘You should think about giving it up,’ but I wanted to defend it. Looking back now I should have vacated because I went up two weight divisions, put a lot of muscle on, didn’t train for a bit, put more weight on, then I was crunching it all off for welterweight. I got in there and it was what it was.
“The real Kell Brook would have dealt with Spence; I already dealt with Shawn Porter when he was more hungry than when he pushed Spence and he was in his prime. It messed me up fighting GGG, putting muscle on then draining back down; that camp were atrocious. Nobody has beat Errol the way I was up until my eye went. I still got to the 11th round and that was a shell of what I was.”
Brook has not been seen in the ring since labouring to a decision win over Michael Zerafa at the end of last year. In his only fight employing friend John Fewkes as trainer, Brook got the job done on a difficult night against an unheralded opponent who has since upset Jeff Horn. Moving back to Dominic Ingle at the facility he first entered aged nine, and working alongside some new gym-mates, has reinvigorated the 33-year-old Sheffielder.
“There is a different feel these days because I’m not the king of the gym anymore,” Brook mused. “Barry [Kid Galahad], Willie Hutchinson, Liam Williams, Billy Joe Saunders, we’re all pushing each other on. I can just train and sneak out the gym, whereas before everyone just seemed to be around me but now there are so many characters, I can just do my thing, follow my programme. Everyone’s got time slots, we get trained one on one and it’s working out well.
“Me and Billie are on the same page. We are different characters, but me and Billy are at a certain level of our careers then some of these young up-and-coming lads want to prove a point and get respect against us. There are different personalities and you need that. I’m in a great place, weight-wise but it’s all about peaking for fight night.”