The day that Sheffield’s Kell Brook conquered Jo Jo Dan...and his demons

Kell Brook prepares to eneter the ring
Kell Brook prepares to eneter the ring
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One of Kell Brook’s camp joked that the boxer had some much Tenerifian blood in him that, should he move up to light middleweight, he could justifiably campaign for the Spanish national title.

Brook would enjoy the quip, although having 32 metal staples in his left thigh wasn’t so funny at the time. The attack was a watershed in a life that could easily have been lost on that holiday island.

Kell Brook knocks Jo Jo Dan down

Kell Brook knocks Jo Jo Dan down

Inevitably, he’s had to overcome many mental and physical challenges since September’s trauma. So Saturday’s sensational IBF welterweight win at Sheffield Arena over Jo Jo Dan will be remembered as his first fight since that dreadful he’s free to move on towards the mega combats that should make him a millionaire.

First though, he had to overcome mandatory challenger Dan, a tough nut who once boxed 10 rounds with a broken jaw. Toughness only goes so far against a campaigner of Brook’s punching power and precision.

In round two, the number one rated challenger, who arrived at the ring with a smile on his face, had it wiped off with a right to the chin. He went down on one knee and needed an eight count. Then it happened again. And then for a third time he tasted canvas, although this time it was a slip under Brook’s chilling barrage. That three minutes most have felt like three months for Romanian southpaw Dan, 33.

Round three was all about survival for Dan, who had lost twice in his previous 36 outings, but had never been stopped. The 14/1 outsider was reduced to lunging at unbeaten Brook, 28, like a stumbling pub fighter.

Brook salutes the crowd

Brook salutes the crowd

Brook was so much in charge that he had time to listen to some mid-round advice from Tony Bellew, a TV commentator sat three rows back.

Dumped to the canvas again in the fourth and then, right on the bell, Dan went down a fourth time. But had he been saved by the bell?

Brook said: “I was surprised he got up four times. “But I wasn’t surprised when he didn’t come out the corner, I knew looking at him he was unsteady on his feet.” And so, in brutal fashion, the son of Shirecliffe moved to his 34th win and has eyes on a big Summer fight, possibly at his spiritual football home, Bramall Lane.

There were post fight contradictions as his camp again called out Amir Khan. But then promoter Eddie Hearn, while saying they’d love that British showdown, admitted there’d been nothing back from Bolton to suggest it might happen this year and that they were moving on.

Brook may now face Juan Manuel Marquez or Brandon Rios at Sheffield United. The hope is that would finally give him enough profile to meet the winner of Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao.

Whoever it is, another great night of Sheffield boxing looms ahead. And Brook has finally laid the ghost of his Tenerife torment.