Kell Brook believes he will rise to the big occasion on August 16 when he finally gets his chance to become a world champion.
The Sheffield fighter takes on Shawn Porter at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, next month hoping to snatch away the IBF welterweight title from the American’s grasp.
"I know I always rise to the occasion and I feel I’ve got many more gears to go through, that people haven’t yet seen. On the 16th I think you will see the very best of me, so far."
To make sure he is ready for the long-awaited shot, Brook and his team at the Ingle Gym have left no stone unturned; they have not once but twice been to warm-weather training camps in Fuerteventura in a bid to make sure their man is in the best possible shape. The 28-year-old will also get plenty of time to acclimatise in the United States, where he will complete the final stages of his preparations for what will be his biggest fight to date. Brook will head out tioday (July 30th) and is adamant the hard work, the hill runs, the hours of sparring will all prove worth it, insisting he will be at his peak when he steps in between the ropes to face Porter.
"I want to see what I can do," he told Sky Sports. "I’m excited to see myself. "I know I always rise to the occasion and I feel I’ve got many more gears to go through, that people haven’t yet seen. On the 16th I think you will see the very best of me, so far.
"Once we wind it down I will have done some quality, quality, dig-deep-down training. I will have been working hard for 16 weeks. But we’ve been working smartly, too. "We’ve been down every avenue and are all ready for the 16th when I get in that ring in Carson."
Patience isn’t perhaps a trait linked to boxers, but Brook has had to show plenty of it. He emphatically stopped Hector Saldivia in a final eliminator back in October of 2012, yet since then untimely injuries, coupled with the politics of the sport, have seen him have to wait to finally get his crack at the IBF crown. The man known as ‘The Special One’ admits the setbacks, including a foot problem that scuppered a second scheduled bout against then champion Devon Alexander, left him in a “dark place”. It has also, though made him even more determined to fulfil his ambition.
"I’m so ready to get in there, on that top platform, and shine on the night," he said at the famous Wincobank Gym after sparring against David Avanesyan, a nuggety Armenian who was drafted in to replicate the style and tactics Porter is expected to use against Brook. "I was in a dark place. It made me re-evaluate my life and boxing. It made me really focus on what I wanted out of it. It has made me really concentrate on the task in hand and what I’ve got to do. “I’m just going to enjoy it. But most of all, I’m going to be so ready. I’ve trained hard and now I can’t wait to put it all in to practice on the night."
Standing in his way is a fellow unbeaten fighter in Porter, a 26-year-old from Akron who has rather risen out of the ranks to suddenly find himself on top of the pile. He took the belt off Alexander at the end of last year and then emphatically defended it in four rounds against Paulie Malignaggi. Brook has done his homework on the current champion and is prepared for a tough battle – though he wouldn’t expect anything less as he looks to make up for lost time and finally get his hands on that IBF belt.
“I’ve seen bits of him, yeah,” he said of Porter, who has 24 wins and a draw on his professional record. “He’s wild, very strong. He’s relentless, one of those fighters that just keeps on coming. But he can box, too. I think anyone at this level can – there’s not a massive margin between fighters at an elite level. If anything, he might have got into some bad habits that we can pick up on. "But overall he’s a strong, all-round fighter.”
Watch Kell Brook take on Shawn Porter live on Sky Sports on a bill also featuring Luke Campbell and Callum Smith. Coverage begins at 2am on Sky Sports 1 on August 17.