The uncle, who first came up with the idea of a huge Bramall Lane match for Kell Brook 23 years ago, says the beaten Sheffield fighter did the city and his family proud - but hopes his nephew now goes to a higher weight division.
‘Uncle Johnny,’ who escorted Brook on to the Sheffield United Kop at the age of eight, carried his nephew’s IBF belt into the ring on Saturday at the venue, until defeat meant it had to be handed over to brilliant American challenger Errol Spence Jr.
Spence stopped Brook in the 11th round, after the Blades’ fan suffered a fractured eye socket for the second time since September- an issue which led to double-vision on the night. Later the deposed IBF king revealed: “They kept me in hospital till 3am where I had a CT scan on my eye. The eye is broken again... I need surgery again, and I’m devastated.”
It was hell for Kell - but he’d given it his all, for the fans.
Brook snr commented: “The ref was right to stop the fight, Kell didn’t know where he was after the eye injury.
“Nobody wants to see a boxer smashed all over the canvas,” said the 56-year-old from Deepcar, referencing injuries suffered by Gerald McClellan against Nigel Benn in 1995.
“Kell fulfilled my dream fighting at the Lane and slowly and surely he will come back and reign again as a world champion. He is scared of no man - he showed how fearless he was taking on Golovkin (his previous fight.) All the family have so much love and pride in him, Team Brook we will make him strong again.”
The uncle accepted the 31-year old was dispossessed of his belt by a true champion.
He said: “In the last three rounds Spence came on big, for the first eight Kell did alright for most of the time. This American is going to be a world superstar.”
“He would annihilate Keith Thurman (potential next opponent.)
“Kell now needs a break with his partner and kids.
“When he rang me he was gutted but I told him to go on holiday and re-group and re-charge the batteries.
“Personally I don’t want him battling weight at 31 years old, I’d rather he went up tot light middleweight” said the relative, whose view is supported by another Ingle gym stalwart, Johnny Nelson.
“He could do with tick-over fight - and I count Amir Khan as a warm-up rather than a serious contest - and then go for a world title (at 11 stone) and defend it a few times.”
“Both Kell and Khan aren’t getting any younger and if the fight doesn’t happen soon, it never will,” said Johnny.
“It’s the fight that all England wants, and Kell would smash him.
“Make no mistake, Kell is not done yet.”
Lennox Lewis, a three-time world heavyweight champion, was impressed by Brook’s performance tweeting that the fighter: “showed his heart! Nothing to be ashamed of. Big up to @ErrolSpenceJr in a great win. Brook will be back. #Respect.”
But Chris Eubank Jr wasn’t as charitable: “How do you just give up your world title with only 2 rounds to go because of a swollen eye?”