Kell Brook will defend his IBF World Welterweight title against U.S. star Errol Spence Jr. at Bramall Lane in Sheffield on Saturday May 27, live on Sky Sports Box Office and live on SHOWTIME®. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will begin at 5:15 p.m. ET / 2:15 p.m. PT.
Both Brook and Spence took part in a media conference call recently to discuss the bout.
Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) will make the fourth defense of his IBF belt against Spence (21-0, 18 KOs), the mandatory challenger and one of the most highly regarded contenders in the sport today.
Here is what Errol Spence had to say on the call:
“I’m excited to fight for my first world title. It’s something that I’ve been waiting for a long time now. Something that I knew that was going to happen… I’m excited that it’s finally here and that I’m finally getting the opportunity to prove myself and prove that I am the best welterweight in the division. Kell Brook, who’s a good fighter, has great skills and he’s a strong fighter too, he can fight… I know it’s not going to be an easy fight for me; it’s going to be a real test to go to his hometown and to take his title from him. It’s something that real fighters do…they go to other people’s town and fight the champion. I’m going to go to his hometown and take the title.
Can you talk about your anxiousness about having to sit for nine months waiting to get this opportunity?
“It was difficult sometimes. It was positive because I got to hang out with my kids and family. It was difficult watching fighters on TV have success and go on to win titles. It was kind of frustrating sometimes but I knew I had to be patient – timing is everything – and that my opportunity was going to come.”
Can you tell us why going to UK two weeks early was important for you?
“It’s been a struggle with the jet lag and adjusting to the time. We’ve been having great training, great sparring and I’m basically just staying focused out here. It was a good decision to come out here earlier.”
Had you heard or read about anyone else in the past that had gone out there too late?
“I’ve heard about guys coming in on Tuesday or three days before the fight and being jet lagged. We just wanted to take all the precautions and come out here early so we’ll be 100 % prepared.”
What do you expect the environment to be like next week at Bramall Lane?
“I expect the environment to be lively. These are hardcore boxing fans in the UK. These people know their boxing. They really come out to support. I expect him to have a lot of support. I expect me to have a lot of boos and I welcome that. It’s a lot of pressure on him to perform in front of his family and his friends. I’m not worried about the crowd. It’s me and him in the ring… Watch me win the world title.”
In some ways is it better to fight him in his hometown in the sense that all the pressure is on him as you mentioned before?
“I don’t know. You still have to perform in the ring whether you’re fighting in his hometown or fighting in America or fighting anywhere else. You still have to show up and you still have to perform. At the end of the day it’s just me and him in the ring, but it is a lot of pressure fighting at home. You have a lot of expectations and a lot of people who rely on you to put on a great performance. It’s a lot of pressure on him too regardless of where he’s been.”
Do you feel in a sense that you’ll get more credit if you win this fight because you went over to his hometown and did it?
“Definitely. I feel like this is a legacy defining fight for me. Most guys with my pedigree get the title handed to them in some type of way. They don’t go across seas to fight the hometown guy against a good fighter like Kell Brook. That’s really unheard of. So I definitely think I get a lot of credit for going overseas and fighting Kell Brook.”
If you pull of the win, how much sweeter will it be that you did it in the champ’s backyard in front of around 30,000 people who are mostly going to be rooting for that guy?
“That’s a dream situation for most boxers. To win a world title in someone else’s backyard shows that you have a lot of grit about yourself and the utmost confidence in yourself to go and do that. I can’t wait.”
Do you feel that the last time you left England in 2012 without an Olympic medal, that maybe you had something to prove to the English this time around?
“No, I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. With the Olympics, it’s a lot of politics. There are a lot of different things that go on during the Olympic Games. I feel like that’s in the past, that was the amateurs, this is the pros now. I feel like I have a lot to prove to myself. Of course, I have a lot to prove to fans overall…That I’m the best welterweight and I feel like I’m the best fighter in the welterweight division. That’s the only thing I feel like I have to prove.”
You’ve called out Keith Thurman in the past. Is that something that’s on your mind at this point in your career?
“It’s not something that’s on my mind right now but it’s definitely the fight that I want in the future and it’s a fight that’s easy to make. But right now I have to get past Kell Brook for that fight to even be possible.”
What about the fight that he had a couple years ago with Shawn Porter? Is there anything you’ve been able to get from that fight that you could apply?
“Definitely. We’ve been looking at a couple fights and that’s one of the fights that we’ve been looking at and that we could apply a couple things to. It was a close fight; I thought it could have gone either way. It’s one of the fights we’ve been looking at. Shawn Porter’s a different fighter than me but we take little things from everybody.”
Would you like to make a prediction for this fight?
“Prediction is I’m coming home on the airplane with the belt.”