Boxing: Kell Brook’s opponent Jo Jo Dan says “Bet on me”

Jo Jo Dan - not here to make the numbers up
Jo Jo Dan - not here to make the numbers up

If Jo Jo Dan’s punching accuracy is as sharp as his wit, Kell Brook has a real fight on his hands on Saturday night.

The contender to the Sheffield welterweight’s IBF crown is a massive 14-1 underdog to triumph, according to the bookies.

But when The Star asked the Romanian-born fighter his view on being such a price, he replied: “You know you should bet on me - you will make some money!”

As inviting as the odds are, I think I’ll keep my money in my pocket.

While Brook, 28, is not underestimating his foe he insists “there is no way on earth” that Dan, now a naturalised Canadian, will be returning across the Atlantic with his treasured belt.

“Defending my title in my own city, with Michael Buffer announcing me out, it’s amazing. It doesn’t get much bigger than this” said the Grenoside champ. Referring to the aftermath of the stabbing incident he suffered on holiday in Tenerife, he told the biggest pre-fight press conference in Sheffield in years: “I have kept you and the fans waiting for too long. You are in for a real treat.

“I was born to do this. It (the defence) is going to be hard, but I perform better under pressure. Jo Jo is no walk in the park, this is his golden ticket to the big, big fights all boxers want.”

Brook admits his perspective on life changed after the machete attack last year.

He talked about being wheeled out of intensive care in hospital, feeling the breeze, hearing the birds sing and determining to have a fresh outlook in terms of boxing and his family - he now has two daughters.

It had taught him to take life one day at a time, and is immediate focus was to eliminate the threat of the fighter who had come to ruin his dream.

Dan, meanwhile, has his own philosophy. He told The Star he had twice seen Brook’s IBF victory over Shawn Porter, in America. “It was a close fight. To go over there and fight the champion...the decision surprised me. But he deserved it.”

Dan, 33, says fighting in places like New York, Turkey and Trinidad had been a valuable experience, preparing him for the clash at Sheffield Arena. In fairness, he probably doesn’t have what it takes to be the first pro to beat Brook. But banana skins have caused slips before...whatever the bookies think.