British boxing has enjoyed a boom period of late with multiple world champions and blockbuster names such as Anthony Joshua, a world heavyweight champion in his own right, leading the charge.
Now is as good a time as any to ride that wave and bring bigger attention—and even bigger money—to the sport domestically with bouts between British stars. Signs have been pointing to this approach for some time now, with the WBA and IBF world super-middleweight title bout between English compatriots Carl Froch and George Groves filling out Wembley Stadium with 80,000 tickets sold (the largest British boxing attendance since World War Two) and the super-bantamweight blockbuster between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg really capturing the imagination of boxing fans in the country.
One big all-British fight has long been on the cards, yet has failed to ever materialize—Amir Khan versus Kell Brook.
With the certainty of cash cow of a fight in mind, rumors surfaced how both parties were in serious talks to have this bout happen in 2017 and finally round off a rivalry which has lasted over a decade.
However, those eagerly anticipating this contest will have to wait a little while longer as talks reportedly broke down thanks to a money dispute with both camps disagreeing with purse ratio. As ever with failed negotiations going public, a customary war of words ensued over social media.
Now, Brook will now have to either make the mandatory defence of his IBF world welterweight title against surging American talent Errol Spence Jr. or move up in weight, while Khan is expected to take a warm-up fight in April instead.
It would have been the perfect rebound fight to book after the pair’s latest boxing exploits. Both Khan and Brook unsuccessfully stepped up in weight to take on middleweight world champions Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in 2016 respectively—another duo who don’t appear to be fighting each other any time soon despite the world wanting it to happen. Khan and Brook’s attempts ended in similar fashion, with the former being stopped by the bigger man in the sixth round and the latter lasting five rounds against the heavy-hitting Golovkin.
Growing up in the local boxing scenes around Bolton and Sheffield—a town and city just 50 miles away from each other—the rivalry between Khan and Brook has been brewing since the early days of their professional careers which started just 10 months apart.
Khan always had the bigger name of the pair, given his silver medal win at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, and Brook’s constant callouts—and Khan’s perceived avoidance of that fight—appeared odd to the casual onlooker. When pressed on a fight between the two, Khan often opined that he would consider a fight once Brook “steps up his game” like in the above tweet from 2012 and again in 2015 ahead of a rumoured 2016 fight which never came to fruition.
Brook has continually sought a fight with Khan, which is at odds to Khan’s side of the story as he told British TV his foe didn’t want any part of a contest. "My team sat down with Brook and his manager, we tried to make the fight and Brook said he doesn't want the fight, so it's not happening," Khan told ITV's This Morning.
"I want the fight and Brook has just walked away from it; he doesn't want it. I was getting the blame for not taking the fight, and now when I've said 'yes, I'll take the fight,’ Brook has stepped back and made excuses."
Suffice to say, it would appear this fight is no closer to happening in 2017 than it ever had in previous years with both camps seemingly at odds with each other.
Khan has been in the news plenty of late. He is engaged in another war of words—this time, against his family. Khan and his wife, Faryal Makhdoom, alleged a family member could well have leaked a “sex tape” of Khan’s, which reportedly shows him “performing a sex act on himself while in conversation with a female model on Skype,” something Khan’s father vehemently denies.
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