Kell Brook holds his IBF welterweight world championship belt. Photo: Reuters / Carl Recine

LONDON - Kell Brook not only wants to rebuff a brilliant American’s challenge for his world title but help add Sheffield to the cities uniting in the aftermath of the Manchester massacre.

Brook’s IBF welterweight championship defence against Errol Spence Jr goes ahead on Saturday in front of a 27,000 crowd at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane, under heavy police guard.

Sheffield is now the Ring of Steel City, so much was the effect of the jihadist terrorist atrocity felt in Brook’s hometown. Brook admits he has to stay concentrated on the biggest fight of his life against the best boxer he has faced but wants to give Sheffield something to cheer.

"It was heartbreaking waking up and hearing about Manchester. Some friends of mine were there. They’re OK but what they had to see and go through is horrible. They’re in deep shock," Brook said.

"I’ve got kids and when they get older they will get into music and want to go to these concerts. It sends the shock through you that things like this can happen to any of us."

Brook has a tough task on his hands against the younger Spence who has won all his 21 fights, 18 of them by knockout.

"This is a big fight and I need to focus," Brook says. "I need to be professional and not get too involved in the traumas. Getting too involved can be very draining emotionally."

Brook knows it will be harder for him to stop putting on more than the stipulated 10lb extra on fight day than coming in at the welterweight limit at the weigh-in.

Brook was only 1lb over the required 147lb mark before attending the last media session. But the IBF will apply that additional 10lb stricture before the boxers enter the ring.

"Getting back down to the weight is always tough for me but has not been as terrible as usual this time because I’ve done it right," Brook said.

"I’m usually starving after the weigh-in and have put on quite a bit more than an extra 10lb before fights in the past. That will be the hard bit now."

Brook will try to draw energy from the defiant response to the bombing, saying: "This can be a great night and we can show that you have to get up every day and keep going.’

The man called Special K has many reasons now for producing the most special performance of his career.

Daily Mail

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