A Special return for new king Kell

IBF World Welterweight champion Kell Brook comes home to the Winter Garden in Sheffield
IBF World Welterweight champion Kell Brook comes home to the Winter Garden in Sheffield

There may not have been All of the Lights but there was certainly something Special about the hero’s homecoming laid on for Kell Brook.

Hundreds squeezed into the Winter Garden around lunchtime yesterday to welcome Brook back to his hometown as a newly crowned world champion.

The usual fanfare and spectacle that greets any Brook appearance in front of the crowd was not needed. All that was required was a rapturous round of applause for the return of the king.

An achievement 19 years in the making according to proud dad Terry, one of several speakers who repeatedly said they always knew Brook would become world champion one day.

And when the new IBF welterweight king stood to speak, the pride in conquering the world was clear to see.

The crowd present and the reaction they produced on his arrival showed exactly how much the Steel City is proud of its latest fighting pride.

Trainer Dominic Ingle reflected on those men Brook has followed in the bootsteps of – the likes of Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson, Clinton Woods.

And while the event itself may have been about lauding the phenomenal achievement of the 28-year-old, there was certainly plenty of looking ahead.

The message was clear from Brook, Ingle and promoter Eddie Hearn: in winning the IBF crown, Kell Brook has only just begun.

Hearn spoke of major fight nights at the Arena, starting later this year on a provisional December 6 date.

There was talk of a Wembley Stadium date with Amir Khan in front of numbers only achieved in the modern era by the Froch-Groves blockbuster earlier in the summer.

And he spoke about Brook now unifying the welterweight division – certainly one of boxing’s strongest.

Names like Mayweather and Pacquiao were mentioned with no sense of awe or overambition. Brook belongs in the brightest lights on the world stage.

As great an achievement as becoming world champion may be, should he achieve his next goal there would be no doubting just how special K really is.

n Dronfield middleweight Adam Etches will face Brazil’s Samir Barbosa, 34, at Ponds Forge, September 20, on Kid Galahad’s undercard.

‘The Bomber’ rated 13th by the IBF, will contest the IBF International title. Victory could catapult him into the world top 10.

“He’ll give me the fight of my life” Etches, 16-0 (13 KOs), said. “He’s been in with some of the world’s best and held his own so this is going to be my hardest fight.” Stablemate Scott Jenkins will also box along with Atif Shafiq, Sam O’Maison, Callum Hancock, Nadeem Siddique.

Hennessy Sports tickets, £35-£100: 0114 2233777. Go to www.sivtickets.com or in person at City Hall, Crucible Theatre and the Arena.