A special Star tribute to Kell Brook...and the people of Sheffield

Kell Brook, the belt, and Jo Jo Dan
Kell Brook, the belt, and Jo Jo Dan

Carl Froch says that if his next fight was at Nottingham Forest’s ground, the crowd would make more noise than 80,000 did at Wembley when he put George Groves in his place.

The City Ground only has a 30,000 capacity.

But while the numbers might not stack up behind his argument, the logic does.

Kell Brook nights at Sheffield Arena are awesome - a true sporting feast for Sheffielders, whether they are boxing aficionados or not.

Previously, the champion has filled the Arena stands as he left Roses rival Matthew Hatton, then Carson Jones, Hector Saldivia and Vyacheslav Senchenko firmly in his wake.

Tonight, as a fully fledged world champion, Kell pummelled Romanian-born Jo Jo Dan with a devastating show of power.

Warrior

Warrior

But his real triumph wasn’t just the successful defence of his much treasured IBF welterweight belt.

It was the strengthening of the connection between the kid who grew up in humble beginnings in Shirecliffe, to those who still live in those streets, and others like them, now.

For a boxer, whose second fight was at the Hotel Van Dyk, Clowne, near Worksop, Kell has sure come a long way.

The partisan Yorkshire atmosphere meant a lot to him, he said.

“It was amazing. I felt the atmosphere and then hearing my song (All of the Lights) it meant such a lot to a kid who has been boxing in the city since I was nine. It made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I used it as fuel.”

Kell is a champion made in Sheffield.

A true son of this gritty part of South Yorkshire.

Like Clinton Woods, and unlike Naseem Hamed, I imagine the father of two and his growing family will always stay rooted in the Steel City.

Before he beat Shawn Porter to win the world title in America, Brook had told me he intended to return to Sheffield and brandish the belt around in every nook and cranny of the place.

A stabbing injury on holiday famously put paid to that.

But tonight he got his opportunity and took it with both fists.

And the people of Sheffield will love him all the more for it.

The welterweight may go on to bigger things, like a Wembley meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios, or eventually Amir Khan. Or even better,in financial terms, an American showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr or Manny Pacquiao.

But for that noise, that backing, that astonishingly warm support - you cannot beat Sheffield.

Home is where the heart is for our Wincobank warrior.

So keep your eyes on a June or July date, possibly at Sheffield United’s ground, for his next big ‘homecoming.’