Ryan Rhodes knows what Kell Brook has had to go through to return from serious injury and get back in the ring.
Brook defends his IBF world welterweight title at Sheffield Arena on March 28, his first fight since being attacked by a machete-wielding thug in Tenerife in September.
Rhodes had his own personal nightmare to contend with back in 2004 when a yob smashed a champagne bottle over his head after a dispute at a Sheffield taxi rank.
“I had to have 35 stitches put in the corner of my head” recalled Rhodes, now part-owner of a new “POW Fitness” gym which opens on The Moor next month. “My boxing was going well at that time and it was a depressing time now knowing whether the cut would heal up completely or open up when I started boxing again.
“The incident had all sorts of effects: it made me wanted to go out all the more (socialising) to prove it hadn’t change me but my wife was always on edge and very protective of me. At least Kell’s injury was on his leg and there’s no chance of that opening up.
“But he had to come to terms with what happened, be strong and block it out of his mind, like I did. Kell lost a lot of blood at the time and it was all panic stations, then.
“But he’s had all the rehab and physio and is definitely not the type to let him effect him from now on. He is fit, strong and focused - I can see him fighting his mandatory challenger and then going on to a massive fight with Amir Khan in the Summer - especially if he puts on a good show for the TV audience in March.”
Matchroom, the promoters have yet to reveal Brook’s opponent, but many believe it to be Canada-based Romanian Ionut Dan Ion.