“I’m back, baby!,” said a jubilant Kell Brook (34-0, 23 KOs) after completely dominating Jo Jo Dan (34-3, 18 KOs) to successfully retain his IBF Welterweight crown at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
But it wasn’t just a layoff of more than six months that Brook was coming back from.
The 28-year-old native of Sheffield was also coming back from a career-threatening stab wound that was suffered less than a month after defeating Shawn Porter in August 2014.
While celebrating his victory on the Spanish island of Tenefife, Brook was stabbed several times in his left leg which, according to promoter Eddie Hearn in a column for The Daily Mail, threatened to put his rising career to an abrupt stop.
“As soon as I walked in,” said Hearn as he visited Brook in the hospital, “I looked into his eyes and I knew exactly what he was thinking – is it all over? The wound was horrific, some 38 staples virtually holding his thigh together,” said Hearn.
Brook, with “the heart of a lion” and numerous hours of rehab, recovered from the injury and came back tonight to score four knockdowns before Dan’s corner stopped the fight at the end of the fourth round.
“I didn’t think I’d walk again, but here I am filling an arena,” said Brook, who showed no signs of being injured as he easily landed right hands in the first round.
Indeed, the right hand played a major factor against Dan’s southpaw stance. The 33-year-old challenger of Romania could not see Brook’s right hands coming, which were firm but not as powerful as the ones that would follow in Round 2.
“I caught him with some good clean shots. He kept getting back up,” said Brook, who scored two knockdowns in Round 2–both by right hands.
Dan responded with more aggression, but this aggression was received with two more knockdowns in Round 4.
The final knockdown, which was caused by a left hook, seriously hurt Dan before Round 4 ended. It was then that his corner realized that Dan had had enough and put an end to the fight.
Brook, despite stopping a tough opponent, shrugged his win off with the confidence that he can still do better.
“That was just to knock cobwebs off and I’ll be back in June in a massive fight,” said Brook.
“Who does everyone want me to fight? Do they want me to fight Khan? Marquez? Brandon Rios? Bring them on. I’m the world champion. I just want to entertain all of you guys,” said Brook.
Brook’s promoter, Hearn, stated that there was an open venue for June 13 and also called out Amir Khan.
“Give everyone what they want!,” said Hearn, who was sure that Khan was watching this event.
“It’s the biggest payday of his career. It’s the biggest payday available. It’s for a world title. Who wants to see Brook beat Khan?” said Hearn.
Brook, who is also aware that a possible fight with Khan would be lucrative, was not shy in calling out Khan.
“If you’re watching, come on and get in here with me. I know you’re delicate around the whiskers. I’m going to take you out,” said Brook.