Ezekiel Brook ‘The Special One’, also known as IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook, is little over 20 days from his debut at middleweight – As the sun sets on a summer of sport, and the Olympics soon to come to a close, the world’s cameras will soon point their direction towards the two men who will face off against each other in the O2 Arena in London on September 10th, Gennady Golovkin and Kell Brook.
An unlikely pair to face each other, whom not one commentator would have predicted possible to face off, will be headlining a Pay Per View event shown across the world to hundreds of thousands of eager viewers to see who will come out on top of this intriguing match up with three world title belts on the line.
Golovkin, native of Kazakhstan who now resides in Big Bear Lake, California, is the reigning WBA, WBC,IBF and IBO World Champion. His sterling record of 35 wins as a professional with 32 coming to a close before the final bell identify him as the menacing and hurtful puncher that he is. His unblemished record, coupled with his deep amateur career spanning over 350 fights with less than 10 defeats, marks his incredible skill set and almost peerless experience inside the ropes at middleweight. The power of his punches and come forward aggressive style has won him the adoration of many fans, as he has methodically stopped the last twenty two of his opponents in knock out fashion.
This is the man whom Kell Brook signed up to fight after only a brief call from his promoter Eddie Hearn. To a true prize fighter the bigger the stage and greater the challenge the more they are drawn towards it. The prospect of fighting one of boxing’s best did not shy Brook as it had shied others, who instead pounced on the offer he had been waiting for. Kell after winning the IBF Welterweight title in 2014 against Shawn Porter, had yet to fight on a stage that held a similar gravity for his career, and not so for lack of trying. In the last two years beginning shortly after winning his first world title, he was beleaguered with an injury sustained to his leg whilst holidaying in Tenerife, and many threw doubts whether he would return to defend his title at all. But through miraculous recovery, ‘Special K’ managed to bring himself back to full fitness and held out his belt to all challengers to try rip away, but found no takers at the top. Countless opponents declined to fight the man who fought with such intensity and concentration to win the belt in the hometown of his opponent in 2014.
His predicament seemed to lead him onto the road that many thought was the natural next step, a fight versus his former rival Bolton’s Amir Khan, a fellow welterweight and former champion who was now training out of the United States. After much back and forth, the fight fell through as Amir Khan opted to fight Mexican superstar and WBC Middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, a fight many commentators gave little chance of winning to the man from Bolton. Forced to take mandatory bouts, Brook had no choice but to patiently bide his time until the boxing landscape would open up enough for contenders to challenge him, or their teams to accept his generous offers. He continued to ply his trade in the ring and in the gyms, fighting a former Olympian and the two outside challengers who were willing to share the ring with him, none of whom heard the final bell.
Golovkin has been forced through a parallel experience two weight classes above. Having blasted away with relative ease everyone one of his recent opponents and signed a contract with HBO, Golovkin found life at the top was a lonely but lucrative affair. Repeated offers were turned down and went unanswered by boxers and their teams who saw the prospect of fighting the Kazakh as all too much for the too little pay, even when offered upwards of one million dollars to dance. Even those at the top of the division often declined his advances, as is seen by the fact he has fought only three former or current world title holders in a total of sixteen world title bouts. His most notable opponent has been David Lemiuex of Canada, a tough and rugged slugger who had worked his way up the middleweight ladder to become the IBF World Champion and was fast becoming the face of Canadian boxing. In his first title defence he willingly took on the Kazakh, but could not hold onto the belt that now belongs to Golovkin who took ownership with his TKO victory in the 8th round, after pummelling away at Lemiuex for the proceeding rounds.
The Kazakh was by now also in long and drawn out negotiations with British fighter Chris Eubank Jr, but as no clear end to the negotiations emerged in sight his team broke off and began to look elsewhere for their next fight. It was not long before Eddie Hearn, also Eubank Jr’s promoter, put forward the idea of Kell Brook moving up to fight Golovkin, a bout where both sides saw an opportunity and moved fast finalising the deal. The date was set for September the 10th in London’s O2 Arena, home of many great fights in 2015 and the 2016 year so far.
With the news broken, the media poured over the respective fighters and their promoters who worked around the clock holding press conferences on both sides of the Atlantic, setting out their stalls for the fight. Golovkin and his team were naturally confident, but remained respectful of the the challenger who had proved himself like the champion a skillful and hard hitting opponent in his previous bouts. Kell Brook and his team too showed respect, but also revelled in being the underdog in this fight, for with greater risk they wagered would come greater rewards. Brook stated he would be moving up to a more natural weight, where he would have to cut less and focus more on boxing during camp, moving up to a weight where he was regularly hurting partners during sparring sessions and felt he possesses greater strength. As the media retired from the initial scrum, so too did the fighters taking themselves away into their respective camps where they would push themselves beyond the bounds experienced by most athletes and into the realm champions are forged.
With little over twenty days to go until the the first bell signals the start of a scheduled twelve rounds, both teams will have been sharpening their fighter’s tools of war, fortifying his strengths and ironing out the weaknesses with the relentless determination and dedication that has made them who they are. Golovkin with his second to none ring craft and thunderous power will come looking to land shots to wear and hurt down his opponent to create the ‘big drama show’ he offers to his fans. With each passing round undoubtedly he will be growing in confidence as the well seasoned champion accustomed to fighting at this weight. Brook for his part will aim use the footwork and lateral movement instilled in all boxers at the renowned Inglewood Gym in Sheffield, creating the space necessary for himself to evade the heavy attacks of the Kazakh. He will need to utilise the accuracy of his punching as well as the power he possesses to land inspired combinations Golovkin would not ordinarily expect. On his side is the fact that Golovkin has previously shown himself open to taking returns from his opponents and encouraging exchanges from them. However seldom been rocked by a punch, nor touched the canvas in all his bouts as professional or amateur, facts testifying to his iron chin.
In this fight Kell Brook has the opportunity to take the mantle and accolades attached to Golovkin as the best fighter on the planet, to do as other welterweights in the history of boxing have done by going up and fighting the best at middleweight, and to show the world what it means to be a fighter willing to face a seemingly surmountable task and coming out with arms raised as victor. Golovkin will seemingly have less to obtain from his victory over Brook, but will be the fighter defending the belts he has worked so hard to obtain. The fight also offers him the opportunity to attract a new wave of fans residing in England with his performance.
The atmosphere in the arena come fight night will be electrifying. British boxing has risen to the fore in 2016 with over a dozen British World Champions and some of the most exciting fights happening on British soil, the fans have been fed numerous spectacles to fill their desires. The cacophony of noise that will erupt as the fighters take their positions, as they exchange leather for the first time and undoubtedly when one of the two connects with force will be enough to raise the roof the arena.
Also fighting on the card are;
– Lee Haskins v Stuart Hall for the IBF Bantamweight title
-Jonriel Casimero v Charlie Edwards for the IBF Flyweight title,
-Martin J Ward v Andy Townend for the vacant British Super Flyweight title
Tickets for this bout are still available on www.stubhub.co.uk for those looking to see the fight in person. The card will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office and HBO in the United States and is promoted by Matchroom Boxing and K2 Promotions.
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