Why a ‘greenhorn’ coach might be good for Kell Brook – by a Sheffield boxing pal who knows John Fewkes best

Ross Burkinshaw at his own gym in Handsworth
Ross Burkinshaw at his own gym in Handsworth

John Fewkes might be a rookie coach at elite level - but could prove to be a considerable asset in Kell Brook’s corner.

Ross Burkinshaw says he has known Fewkes since the pair were eight and nine respectively and believes his natural boxing nous and knowledge of the game will turn heads as he pilots Brook.

"I used to say to him, when we were boxing together, that if he'd trained me I would be world champion" said Burkinshaw, 32, a former Commonwealth/WBO European bantamweight title-holder.

"I have never known anybody read a fight like Fewky. As kids, we used to watch Ricky Hatton, Spencer Oliver, Naseem Hamed and the like and he'd tell me exactly how the fight was going to pan out.

"Technically, he was a very good boxer himself - he’s had 22 years working with Glyn Rhodes where he’ll have picked up everything he’d need to set him on his way.

"Actually Ricky Hatton used to say he liked watching him, too. But I think Fewky will want to prove he's at a higher level as a trainer than he ever was when he was campaigning."

John Fewkes and his young gym members

John Fewkes and his young gym members

Fewkes's appointment to take over the reins from Dom Ingle as the cornerman for the Michael Zerafa fight at Sheffield Arena on December 8, had some observers wondering whether he had what it takes at such a prominent level.

"Fewky is inexperienced in one way, but not another,” said Burkinshaw. “He studies boxing and maybe Kell has seen something in him. It is good to have a bond with your trainer, it's a big thing. 

“Me and Curtis Woodhouse enjoyed working with Ryan Rhodes before he was a trainer. We had a bond, and we talked him into a trainer's license. 

“If I was a betting man, I dare say Kell might keep him on.

"Kell might not have long left in his career and Fewky is not a bad option. And for John, this is going to give him a real boost for his future."

Brook has been sparring with Colombian Samuel Vargas, in Fuerteventura.

Vargas was Amir Khan's last opponent in September...indicating the Sheffield man is already thinking one-fight ahead.

Vargas described the sparring as a “solid work out.”