How Sheffield's Kell Brook arrived at the career moment he savoured today

It was a special day for the Special One today.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 12:49 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:55 am
Brook v Jones II

His camp confirmed that he would be defending his world title belt at Bramall Lane - home of his favourite football team, Sheffield United.

He is up against powerful new-kid-on-the-block Errol Spence Jr - who will provide Brook's 38th professional opponent.

Brook acknowledges his fans

The Ecclesall welterweight has never lost at 147lbs.

And while he was defeated, last time out to middleweight titan Gennady Golovkin, he has put that past him and is looking forward to entertaining his home crowd at The Lane.

The summer open-air fight will be the biggest moment in Brook's career since he beat another American, Shawn Porter, in 2014.

So here is a look back at the highlights of the Sheffield star’s career.

Brook acknowledges his fans

* September 2004: Kicked off his professional career with a six-round points victory over Peter Buckley at the Don Valley Stadium. By the end of the year he had won a further four fights to make his record 5-0.

* June 2008: Having stretched his record to 16-0 he became British champion by stopping Welshman Barrie Jones in the seventh round at London’s York Hall. Kevin McIntyre was angry he had been stripped of the title through injury and Brook was ordered to face the former champion and defended the title in style. Brook won on a technical knockout in Glasgow after having his opponent on the canvas three times in the first round.

* 2009: Brook stopped Stuart Elwell in the second round of a voluntary defence in January and claimed the Lonsdale Belt outright beating Pricefighter winner Michal Lomas on a third-round stoppage in July. Named young boxer of the year in September.

* 2010: Became WBO Intercontinental champion in March, stopping Krzysztof Bienias in the sixth round. The Pole had last been beaten by Junior Witter in 2005 and had won 17 fights in succession since then. Brook won the long-awaited fight with Michael Jennings, the fight stopped in the fifth round after the Chorley man suffered a bad cut over his eye. A second defence of the Intercontinental title saw Ghana’s Phillip Kotey stopped in the second round as Brook kept his no 1 ranking with the WBO.

* 2011: Left promoter Frank Warren to join Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable. In his first fight under the new team, won the WBA version of the intercontinental title with a 12-round points decision against Lovemore N’dou at Hillsborough Leisure Centre.

* 2012: 10,000 fans at Sheffield Arena saw Brook beat Matthew Hatton, Ricky’s brother, on a unanimous points decision to make his record 27-0,

* Repeated his desire to face Amir Khan : “If it happens, I’ll smash him. I want to be fighting at that top table now with the elite fighters. I’ve proved I deserve to be there.”

*Brook hung on to narrowly outpoint American Carson Jones at the Arena, his dominance of the early rounds, tiring in the later rounds and suffering a broken nose, being taken to hospital because of the blood loss.

* 2012: Became mandatory challenger for World IBF welterweight title when superior accuracy and power saw him beat Hector Saldivia at the Arena with a third round stoppage.

* 2013: Title fight against Devon Alexander postponed three times due to injuries to both fighters, Brook then securing an eight-round stoppage in a rematch with Jones, taking his record to 30-0. Brook next beat Ukranian Vyacheslav Senchenko - who had recently beaten Ricky Hatton who quit fighting as a result - in the fourth round due to a technical knockout.

* 2014: Became IBF World champion by beating Shawn Porter by a majority decision in Carson, California.

* 2015: Overcame life-threatening injuries after a machete attack in Tenerife, beat mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan in Sheffield, Dan’s corner stopping the fight at the end of the fourth after he had been knocked down three times. Second successful defence two months later, Frankie Gavin being stopped in six rounds at the Arena.

* 2016: Stopped mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier in second round at Arena. After failed negotiations for a unification fight it was announced Brook would move up two weight divisions to challenge unified middleweight title-holder Gennady Golovkin, who had a 35-0 record. Fight at O2 Arena in London, led to Brook’s first defeat, suffering a damaged eye socket and heavy punishment in the fifth, trainer Dominic Ingle throwing in the towel. Brook required surgery.

* 2017: Returned to welterweight and after failed negotiations to set up a Khan fight, the May 27 meeting with Errol Spence at Bramall Lane was agreed.