Kell Brook has been to a very dark place.
The stress fracture of his right fourth metatarsal last April not only robbed him of a planned assault on Devon Alexander’s world title, it stole his love of the sport.
Speaking about his emotions in detail for the first time, the Sheffield welterweight said: “I was in bits. People don’t see the sacrifices you and your family have to make to get a chance like I did. All the hard work of the training camp and the dieting was for nothing. It all went down the pan. I had so much running through my mind I couldn’t think properly. I was emotional a lot of the time.
“I got so down and depressed I fell completely out of love with boxing. All I’d ever wanted was to be world champion and it was taken away from me, it was out of my hands.”
Brook, 27, knew he had to dig himself out of a hole. “The light at the end of the tunnel was when Eddie (Hearn; promoter) got me the fight at Hull (versus former foe and American Carson Jones, July 13.) I knew the fans had missed me and I knew I needed to get things back together.
“I started training again - not at absolutely maximum, at first because my foot was rehabilitating. But I was stepping things up and getting a good sweat on. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Suddenly I was back in love with boxing!”
Brook said he is “refreshed and had regrouped” after the experience. “After the horrible pain the foot gave me, it’s strong and healed now and I can focus on a new chapter. I want to forget about what has happened and just being positive. Yes, it still burns me a bit, but I am still mandatory for a world title, I am still unbeaten and I just need to get a win to get back up there.”
Brook’s opponent Jones, who lives in Houston, Texas, flies in to the UK next Sunday - so he has just six days to acclimatise for the fight. He has pronounced himself “ready and motivated” for combat.
The 26-year-old needs to be. He has only one win from his last three outings and has nine defeats on his CV.
Another loss to Brook - the Sheffielder beat him over 12 rounds on points 12 months ago - and his hopes of achieving greatness will be all but over.