Kell Brook on his career highs and lows, future plans, Ben Shalom and Dominic Ingle

Sheffield boxing legend Kell Brook says he feels like a part of him has died after hanging up his gloves for the last time.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 5:47 pm

The former welterweight world champion, who first walked into the Ingle Gym aged nine in 1995, confirmed his retirement last week following an 18-year professional career.

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Brook won 40 of his 43 professional fights and went out in style after beating his long-time rival Amir Khan in front of more than 20,000 fans at Manchester’s AO Arena in February.

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Kell Brook celebrates victory over Amir Khan in February (photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images).a

He told The Star: “It feels very weird. I feels like I have died a bit, it’s what I have done all my life.

"No one really teaches you how to cope when you retire. No one really learns you what to do about that.”

Brook, now 36, added: "It's going to be hard to finally decide what I’m going to get myself into, but I need to do something.”

Brook somersaults after winning his fight against David Kirk in December 2006 with a first-round stoppage. Photo: Adrian DennisAFP via Getty Images.

There could have been more fights, if he wanted. And retirement doesn’t necessarily mean the offers will stop.

“There's always going to be another fight,” Brook added. “I have always said I don't want boxing to retire me.”

"Definitely not,” he said of the possibility of an exhibition bout 10 or 20 years down the line à la Ricky Hatton.

"It's a young man's sport. I was 36 a week ago, I'll leave it to the young guys.”

Kell Brook throws a punch at Shawn Porter in their IBF Welterweight World Championship fight at the StubHub Center on August 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California (photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images).

Brook likened the process of accepting he was now an ex-fighter to dealing with the loss of a loved one.

He said: "I have known for a while, even probably before the Khan fight. I knew I wasn't getting any younger.

“I wanted the Khan fight because of the fans, they are the ones that make you. When I finally put that all to bed I just think it was the end of the boxing chapter.”

Brook, who grew up in Shirecliffe and Hillsborough and attended Herries School (now Parkwood Academy) before enjoying success on both sides of the Atlantic, added: “Once you know it's over, it's over.

Ouch! Johnny Nelson gets a whack from the Ingle Gym's latest champion, 14-year-old Kell Brook from Hillsborough, who had just become a Yorkshire & Humberside schoolboy champion.

"This is finally it. Everything I have ever known, it’s come to a stop.

"It’s not a great feeling knowing it’s over, but one day you know it’s got to come to an end.”

What next for Kell Brook?

The man nicknamed 'Special K' wants to stay in boxing but does not yet know what capacity that could be in.

Managing fighters and mentoring young prospects is one option, he said.

"I have had 27 years in the game, I have learnt a lot and I have got a lot to give.

"Giving back to the youth and the young kids that are coming through; I have earned a good amount of money from the game I don't need to work again.

"I have got properties, I'll be going down the property route.”

Would he consider rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty training fighters?

"Possibly. Let’s wait and see what happens."

Working with Sky Sports’ boxing promoter Ben Shalom again is a possibility, albeit in a punditry role.

Brook’s decision to retire was supported by the man who made his burning desire to fight Khan a reality, he said.

“He’s behind me one-hundred per cent, whatever I wanted.

"He says that fight has made him, he’s got nothing but respect for me. I admire his drive in the game, wanting to be the best promoter.”

For now, it’s family time and dad duties with his three daughters Nevaeh, 10, Estelle, seven, and Vienna, three.

"It’s been great picking them up from school and doing things with them,” said Brook.

"People forget I have trained through Christmases and birthdays and the times I have missed.

"I have got more time now, I can concentrate on my family.”

‘It was probably the best camp I have ever had’

Brook’s training camp for the Khan fight clashed with his daughters’ most recent birthdays.

He wanted to return home from his training base in Fuerteventura, having already missed spending time with them over Christmas, but head trainer Dominic Ingle put his foot down.

Brook said: “He called the training camp. When we were there for so many weeks in Fuerteventura I did want to get back for one of my daughter’s birthdays.

"He overruled it. I’m so happy I didn’t overrule it – the performance and shape of me showed on the night.”

Dore-based Brook added: "I was in fantastic shape for that fight, it meant that much to me. It was probably the best camp I have ever had.

"It’s the best I have ever seen Dom as well. I believe it was the best he’s ever performed in the corner and in the training camp, it meant that much to him and to me.”

‘I’ll go down as one of Sheffield’s best’

Brook was a 2/1 outsider when, aged 28, he travelled to California to box American champion Shawn Porter for the IBF world title in 2014.

Ingle, who was in his corner for the fight, told The Star at the time: “It is a hard ask in California, there will be three American judges, an American referee. We are up against it.”

But, in arguably his finest hour in boxing, Brook claimed a majority decision victory (ironically, a judge from Leeds scored the bout a draw).

"I have had an amazing career, there’s been some ups and downs but it’s been a fantastic career,” he said.

"I just hope I have entertained the fans over the years and I’ll go down as one of Sheffield’s best.”

Brook, who suffered three defeats in his career and was stabbed one month after beating Porter, added: “It’s been a rollercoaster.

"I have enjoyed every minute; it’s been entertaining, exciting, there’s been nerves, plenty of emotions.

"The fight against Khan was a real bang, a real high to go out on. I’ll be remembered for that fight, it’s a good note to leave the sport on.”