JOHN FEWKES grew up in the same boxing community as Kell Brook.
And while nothing would give him greater pleasure to see Brook clinch the world title on February 23 against American Devon Alexander at the Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, he is realistic to know it will be a fight that is difficult to predict.
“They are of similar styles, it will be a technical fight for the purists, not blood and thunder” says Fewkes, who boxed Brook three times as an amateur, losing twice and winning once. “People looking for a war won’t see one.
“Alexander is at his best when he is up against a come-forward fighter, but neither of them are brawlers, they are both highly-skilled, ‘thinking’ fighters who weigh up every punch they throw.
“Alexander is fighting in his home country and has taken on more experienced fighters in the past, (like Timothy Bradley and Randall Bailey) and that can be influential. As the fight wears on Alexander’s experience may be an increasing factor.
“But I just have a feeling Kell will do it, if he is on his ‘A’ game.
“Kell has speed, accuracy and digs hard, never wasting a punch. And he performs against better calibre opponents on big nights. Like me in that he’d rather fight on the big stage in America than at Barnsley Metrodome!” said Fewkes.
Despite Alexander’s undoubted pedigree, Fewkes believes Brook, undefeated after 29 bouts, will be mentally prepared for whatever is thrown at him. “I cannot see any doubts creeping into his head because he has confidence and that really is a big deal.
“It has been bred into him for years by Brendan Ingle and his team. He has that belief.”
Fewkes, 27, who was due to fight on a show, since postponed, at iceSheffield on February 8, said: “Kell has come a long way since we were fighting each other at St Phillips club in Netherthorpe.
“But back then you could tell he was going to be something special.
“I honestly thought he had a chance to go on and be a superstar.
“Over the years he has developed what I’d call an American style, he is so loose and confident, nothing seems to bother him. He just rolls away from shots and always seems in control.
“And if he is under pressure, like he was against Carson Jones, he knows how to dig in have a fight.”
“It will be tough but I can really see him rise to the occasion.”
Brook, 26, is currently warm-weather preparation in Fuerteventura. He tweeted recently that he is “training my ****s off, it’s coming together.”
Alexander, 25, (won 24 (KO 13) lost 1) may be favourite across most of America - but not with world famous trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr who has tweeted: “I’m telling you Kell Brook’s gonna beat Devon Alexander.”
Fewkes says his Sheffield Boxing Centre trainer Glyn Rhodes is having the Mickey taken out of him at his Hillsborough gym since being told he is to be awarded the MBE. “We all refuse to call him ‘Sir Glyn’” laughed Fewkes. “But seriously we’ve been together 17 years and we’re all very proud of him.”