Khan v Brook – Five things we learned:
- Big time boxing is back – A 22,000 sellout, Michael Buffer getting ‘ready to rumble’, Liam Gallagher and Premier League footballers ringside and hundreds of thousands of pay per views sold. The BOXXER/Sky Sports Box Office promotion was an immense success. Right from day one when the AO Manchester Arena sold out within ten minutes on announcement of the fight and the subsequent weeks of build up, the weekend marked an emphatic return to British boxing post-COVID.
- Kell Brook has closure – when the dust finally settled it wasn’t even close. The Sheffield man dominated from the opening bell to the referee stopping this one sided contest in the sixth round. Amir Khan promised much in the lead up but was simply outgunned and by all intents and purposes outclassed. This was as dominant a performance as Brook has delivered in his 18 year professional career. Any rumours of a potential rematch pre-fight, outcome depending, have now been firmly extinguished.
- Amir Khan’s boxing career was a success – Though nothing has been announced to date, Saturday should have brought an end to Amir’s boxing journey. Despite all the damning reports of his performance on the night let’s re-cap on what the Bolton-kid, turned man, has given British boxing. He was the sole British representative at the 2004 Athens Olympics and came home with a silver medal further securing the lottery funding for the success we now see at amateur level today. He won, lost and regained a version of the world junior-welterweight (140lb/10st) title, and whether in victory or defeat has entertained us royally. We’ve shared his journey through brutal stoppage defeats by Breidis Prescott way back in 2008, his numerous standout wins against Marco Antonio Barrera, Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah and Devon Alexander and marquee fights against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Terence Crawford. He’s also done much to raise the positive profile of the British-Muslim community and raised millions for charity on the back of his sporting success. If he inevitably calls it a day he can hold his head up high to reflect on a stellar career.
- Opportunities open up for Brook – It’s a shame that at 35 years of age the big domestic paydays have suddenly become available for the Sheffield man. After his excellent performance and raising his record to 40-3 (28 KO’s) the temptation will be to continue and possibly take up the challenge of Chris Eubank Jr. in another domestic ‘catchweight’ contest. This would be a big risk from a fighting perspective as Eubank Jr. is the larger man, campaigning exclusively at middleweight (11st, 6lbs/160lbs), but would be a very lucrative domestic showdown and even in defeat not harm his legacy. On the positive side, a win would further elevate his now secured status. However, with his history of eye injuries would it be worth the risk ? The sensible option would be to call it a day, but since when have boxers always taken the sensible option ?
- You can’t beat a domestic dust-up – There are so many ‘world’ titles available from differing sanctioning bodies that they’ve now in many cases become an irrelevance. Saturday’s turnout and interest showed that most importantly it’s the fights that matter, not the fake ruby belts. British boxing is resplendent with historic domestic contests (Cooper-Bugner, Bruno-Lewis, Benn-Eubank, Froch-Groves) and this brings the fans out in their thousands. Whatever is up for grabs, and Saturday being noteworthy that no title was on the line, if the rivalry and contest is perceived good enough the fans will come. Despite the inevitable steady decline of both fighters, this was a genuine 50/50 fight for that very reason. Competitive contests make boxing greater, whoever the protagonists are. If that’s between two boxers from the same nation with a history of mutual contempt all the better.
Special mention for Natasha Jonas (11-2-1, 8 KO’s) who gained the WBO world super-welterweight (11st/154lbs) belt with a superb second round stoppage of Chris Namus (25-7, 8 KO’s). This was the Liverpool lass’s third attempt at a world title and she took it emphatically.
Saturday also marked the successful pro debut of Tokyo 2020 Olympic heavyweight bronze medallist Frazer Clarke who stopped Jake Darnell inside the opening round. A bright future should await this welcome addition to the heavyweight ranks. Clarke was an elite amateur who’s shared the ring with compatriots Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce and a host of other international names. It will be worth tracking his progress.