KELL Brook has revealed he sacrificed possible world title opportunities to make a domestic “mega-fight” with Matthew Hatton.
The unbeaten Sheffield fighter will square off with experienced Mancunian Hatton on Saturday to establish domestic welterweight supremacy in an intriguing ‘War of the Roses’ welterweight clash.
The fight also sees Brook, 25, step up in terms of box office status, headlining in front of 10,000 at the Arena in his home city.
Brook has been on the cusp of a world title challenge for some time now, while Hatton has already had a taste of the big time when he made an ambitious move up in weight to lose bravely against WBC light-middleweight champion Saul Alvarez in 2011.
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn has spent the last year tentatively negotiating towards a shot at one of the welterweight prizes but the fighter himself insists he is happy to wait slightly longer in order to earn money and recognition by taking on Hatton.
“We could have gone for a world title but when Eddie came on and offered me this fight it brought a smile to my face, because it’s boxing in Sheffield, my home town, and it captures the public’s imagination,” Brook said.
“Matthew is a proven fighter who has had a lot of fights. He’s boxed Saul Alvarez, he’s never been stopped and he’s got the Hatton name.
“It captures the imagination and it’s going to be a mega-fight. It will leave us no doubt about who is number one and number two in Britain. Whoever wins this fight goes on to a world title.”
Brook added: “It’s a massive step up in terms of venue and profile. Nobody really knew me last year then I packed the Hillsborough Leisure Centre out, then Ponds Forge, and Eddie Hearn has done a tremendous job. Now we’re at the biggest arena in Sheffield - in Yorkshire in fact - and we want to pack it out again.
“I’ve got to give credit to Matchroom. It’s onwards and upwards now. I’ve got a mega-fight with Hatton and I can’t wait for it. It’s a great fight.
“I’ve got a new baby, my daughter has just been born so I’ve got a family to provide for. It’s given me that ‘Eye of the Tiger’, the twinkle in my eye knowing that I’ve got a daughter now. I’m training even harder to make sure I come through this with flying colours.
“I’m training super-hard and will be ready for whatever Hatton brings.
“I can’t look past Matthew Hatton to world title fights. We can’t have any slip-ups, this kid is coming to win. He’s been in with Alvarez so he’s not bothered about Kell Brook.
“I know he’s going to bring his ‘A’-game and I am too, and we’re going to see who the winner is.”
Like Brook, Hatton has recently welcomed a baby daughter to the world.
And he insists the new arrival is giving him more sleepless nights than Saturday’s opponent.
“Kell’s certainly not giving me any sleepless nights,” he said after today’s pre-fight press conference.
“The baby is fantastic, she’s only a few days old and she’s healthy, and she’s not the problem - it’s my four-year-old lad (Jack) who is the pain in the backside.
“I’ve lost the weight really easily, enjoyed the preparations and the build-up and I’m just excited for Saturday night now.”