Kell Brook has his eyes on a match-up with Amir Khan - hosted at Sheffield United’s ground - after his astonishing world title win over American Shawn Porter, in Carson, California in the early hours of yesterday.
Such a British boxing bonanaza at his beloved Blades’ Bramall Lane ground would be another dream come true for the man they call the ‘Special One.’
And don’t rule that or anything else out: Brook, who earned a reported $200,000, turned fantasy into reality over the weekend and is capable of doing so again. His majority decision victory in 12 gruelling rounds over the frenzied, threshing machine that is Porter will finally have made world boxing sit up and take notice.
America now knows who he is. And will want to see more.
But they may have to wait until he’s dispensed with Khan, on home soil first. “You’re getting it next, boy” Brook told him.
Khan has previously turned his nose up at Brook as unworthy and small beer. Not any more.
The IBF welterweight title is a massive belt in a highly-competitive division and Khan will want it over his mantelpiece in Bolton.
Brook’s pal and retired boxer Ryan Rhodes, a Sheffield Wednesday fan says such a collision would fill a football stadium. Then, on twitter, Sheffield United footballer Curtis Woodhouse announced: “I’m retired but if Kell defends at Bramall Lane I’m coming back to fight on the undercard, end of story.”
That prompted Brook to tweet: “Haha beautiful Curtis lets get (the) Lane packed to rafters!”
Khan might prefer Wembley, a la Groves v Froch. But, whatever, these are heady days for Brook.
Millions of pounds will head towards his bank account if and when he gets the ‘mega’ fights, the likes of Khan, WBC/WBA king Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacqiauo or Keith Thurman, who was sat ringside on Sunday morning, at the open-air StubHub centre.
Frequently, ordinary working class fans begrudge sport stars their massive salaries and colossal pay days.
But they won’t for Brook. He has come up through the amateur and pro ranks, from the age of nine, at the Ingle gym in Wincobank.
Like his upbringing, his world title win over Porter was done the hard way, too. The first round appeared to set a depressing precedent: the Tyson-esque defending champ, 26, from Ohio, was a blur of spikey aggression. Thanks to the benevolence of referee Pat Russell he was free to run at Brook virtually head-first. Brook was facing a rugby front-row forward with boxing gloves on.
Disaster loomed in round two. With Porter hurling himself at Brook, 28, it was no surprise when a clash of heads opened up an ugly wound over Kell’s left eye.
Brook was forced on the back foot as Mr Fast and Furious went into overdrive, his head like a missile directed at the visitor’s torso. With blood seeping into Brook’s eye, Porter, sometimes showboating with gloves down, must have thought he was in for an early night.
But then it became, in football parlance, a game of two halves. A gash suddenly appeared over Porter’s right eye and its appearance appeared to galvanise the Yorkshireman.
Brook was now the one dictating events and his best shot came in round seven, an uppercut which sent Porter into the ropes. Despite all the early hubris and forcefulness from the champ, he started to look tired, confused and, above all, fallible.
He tried to change tactics by lifting his gloves higher, but it was a subdued response to the rapidly flourishing underdog.
By round 10 I’d pencilled in my notes: ‘Two more rounds with KB in charge - it’s a draw at least.”
Brook continued to pace himself against the flagging rival and at the end of round 11 walked cockily back into the corner with his hands in the air in seeming triumph. Was it utter confidence or misplaced bravado?
The judges were clearly not going to be influenced by any ‘home turf’ discrimination - and unveiled their decision which, doubtless, shocked millions of American TV viewers.
Brook looked pensive as the decision was spelt out (114-114, 116-112, 117-111) followed by the words he’d been predicting for so long: “And the new...”
The two American judges (oddly enough the draw verdict came from a Leeds judge) clearly felt that the better quality punches had come from the overseas man.
Boxer had beaten fighter. Brit had pipped Yank. Brains had overcome brawn.
The Grenoside resident had moved his unbeaten record to 33-0 and inflicted a first, thoroughly professional defeat on Porter.
The long-awaited title win amply repaid the faith shown in him by the Ingle boxing gym clam, (most notably Brendan and trainer Dominic) promoter Eddie Hearn -the man who had been so cross with his protege after conditioning issues in the Carson Jones 1 fight - but above all Kell’s family.
Across the boxing community, there was no shortage of back-slappers for Sheffield’s now-favourite son.
Darren Barker told Kell: “You’re a bloody legend! Made up for you!”
Matthew Hatton - a Brook conquest - sportingly tweeted: “Great night for British boxing & congrats to our newly crowned champion @SpecialKBrook enjoy your success champ!”
Hatton’s brother Ricky delivered his “massive congrats to the new champ.”
Anthony Ogogo added: “Amazing, congratulations Kell.”
And Tony Bellew summed it up: “So happy for @SpecialKBrook he’s done it! Gone to the champions backyard and ground out the win! Kell Brook champion of the WORLD!”