Family pride: Why Kell Brook HAS to beat Errol Spence Jr at Sheffield United’s ground

Kell Brook and his uncle takes to the pitch at half time to promote his up and coming fight with Errol Spence

Kell Brook and his uncle takes to the pitch at half time to promote his up and coming fight with Errol Spence

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Kell Brook’s fascination for Bramall Lane dates back to the early 1990s, a time when Kops were ‘proper’ ends - with no seats and plenty of passion and fire.

That’s when Johnny Brook, a dyed-in-the-wool Sheffield Unitedite, decided to take his young nephew to the stadium.

The starry-eyed schoolboy instantly liked what he saw.

Later, it would become his dream to perform there - not with a football at his feet, but with a pair of gloves on his fists.

And that aspiration will become a reality on May 27, when he defends his world welterweight title against American Errol Spence Jr on the Lane turf.

Kell’s memory of attending his first football match are understandably vague; he was around five years old.

Pitchside promotion

Pitchside promotion

“I had never been around people who swore so the thing I remember most in the middle of the Kop was all the swear words” Kell told The Star.

“But it was the start of a lifelong attachment to the Blades and it’s great to be defending my belt there.

“It means a lot to me and my uncle Johnny, neither of us can wait” said boxing’s version of the ‘Special One.’

‘Uncle Johnny’ remembers the first time he took Kell to the stadium like it was yesterday.

Kell Brook v Errol Spence Press Conference at Bramall Lane.

Kell Brook v Errol Spence Press Conference at Bramall Lane.

“I remember when the Blades scored and Kell was ragged all over the place - there were no seats in the Kop then and it was mayhem.

“I had seen him picking up the atmosphere as soon as the ‘Greasy Chip Butty’ song came on.

“I still get goose bumps hearing that and so does he” said Johnny.

“It is a dream come true to fight there, for both him and me, he has dedicated this fight to me.

“When we go out there, with all the music and the lights, I will hold the belt and it will be the proudest moment of my life.

“You can’t make a story like this up, it’s just amazing.”

Brook senior added: “Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker’s family wanted them to play football at United, but I wanted Kell to box there - he took the boxing really quickly and I remember teaching him all about how to eyeball opponents and get into their heart and mind before a fight. The way he does today.

“But I still look at him and see the child he used to be. I don’t see the grown man. He’ll always be my little Kell.

“He still has a soft, gentle side but he is pure evil when you get him in a ring, he likes to hurt his opponent. And right now I have never seen him so fired up.

“It will be an indescribable night.”

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Will performing at Bramall Lane bring Kell extra pressure?

“It will, but throughout my career whenever I am under pressure I train harder and compete better” the IBF champ says.

“Added pressure just makes me work more in the gym.

“It will be great on the night to be at the Lane and see so many fans, people, family and familiar faces.

“And nobody will be taking my belt away, either!”

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Odd fact

Kell has boxed only 11 times in his native Sheffield out of 37 professional outings. In the 16 fights between May 2005 and June 2011, the Shirecliffe native never boxed once on his home city soil.

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