Sheffield’s reputation as a stage for world title boxing excellence will be further enhanced on March 26.
As predicted in The Star last week, Kell Brook’s mandatory welterweight title defence against Kevin Bizier will take place at the Arena on that date.
It will the sixth time the Ecclesall fighter has boxed on the Broughton Lane stage, having dispensed with Jo Jo Dan, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Hector Saldivia, Carson Jones and Matthew Hatton.
A Brook night at the Arena is as compelling as any sporting event in the city’s calendar - Sheffield fans just love the unbeaten, 29-year-old IBF kingpin.
There had been fears the fight would be staged in north America, but Brook’s army will be delighted it’s being hosted in their own back yard.
The Sheffielder out to pull out of a planned defence last year, because of a rib injury in sparring.
“I’m delighted to be back fighting at the Sheffield Arena again,” said Brook.
“While I was gutted to miss out on fighting in October, I’ve fully recovered from the injury and feel stronger than ever.
“I’ve been working hard in the gym and working on new things, and I cannot wait to put on another explosive performance for my home town fans and prove I am the best 147-pound fighter on the planet.”
Bizier, 31, has only fought outside his native Canada once; last April when he stopped Fredrick Lawson in the US, in a title eliminator.
“The most important thing was the date,” said Bizier. “March 26 is perfect for me. I am already in great physical condition and I will have the perfect preparation in Montréal with my trainer Marc Ramsay.
“I know I will be the underdog once again, but I guarantee you I will give the fight of my life. I am optimistic and I’ve already fought in England as an amateur. Having the crowd against me does not bother me at all.”
Olympic gold medal hero Luke Campbell MBE will return to action on the bill, South Yorkshire heavyweights Dave Allen and Richard Towers clash in a British title eliminator and Andy Townend meets Craig Poxton for the English Super-Featherweight title.
* Meanwhile Brook’s name was not on Amir Khan’s lips in a recent interview. “I’m training for hopefully the end of March. We’re looking at a few opponents. Danny Garcia is fighting for the WBC title. Even though I’m the No 1 [ranked], he’s got the opportunity to fight for it,I think I’ll get my chance to win that title against him and have that rematch which I’ve been looking forward to.”
Khan added: “Id quite like that to happen this summer. If he wins that is, I’ll beat the winner of Guerrero-Garcia.’
Wembley Stadium was provisionally booked by Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn for June 4 - but unless Khan’s camp are bluffing, it seems unlikely to happen.