SHEFFIELD — Kell Brook’s heartache in losing his IBF welterweight title in his home city of Sheffield has been compounded by the news he is facing another operation to repair a broken eye socket.
Brook lost his IBF world welterweight title to Errol Spence Jr. after sinking to one knee in the 11th round without being hit but unable to see, blinking and rubbing his swollen left eye before then being counted out.
Brook had a metal plate inserted into his face following the Golovkin defeat and is set to go under the surgeon’s knife once more, while it seems unlikely he will box again this year.
Brook did not attend the post-fight press conference and went straight to hospital after being examined in the ring.
“They kept me in [hospital] until about 3am,” Brook told Sky Sports on Sunday.
“I had a CT scan on my eye and the eye is broken again, same as the Golovkin one, so, maybe surgery again.
“I’m devastated. I knew from round seven that the eye had gone and progressively as the rounds went on. I tried to get through the fight and it kept going double-vision and then coming back into line.
“In the later rounds 10 and 11, especially 11th round, it stuck there and that’s why I went down on one knee and I remember the surgeon saying to me after the Golovkin fight if you would have gone another round or so you could be blind so I’ve got that going through my mind as well.”
Brook (36-2, 25 KOs), 31, was also down in the tenth round and struggled to cope with Spence’s speed and movement. The unbeaten American landed over a hundred punches more than Brook and was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards — 97-92, 96-93 and 95-94 — when Brook was counted out.
While Brook’s career is in the balance, Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) is talking about world title unification fights against rival welterweight champions Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao.
But Spence, 27, from DeSoto in Texas, will have to wait for WBO king Pacquiao, 38, and WBC-WBA champion Thurman.
Filipino Pacquiao 59-6-2, 38 KOs) faces Jeff Horn in Australia on July 2 while American Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs), 28, is ruled out until early next year following elbow surgery.
“I want to fight Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao, I want to unify the titles and become No 1 in the division,” the 2012 Olympian told a press conference, with his toddler daughter sat on his knee.
“I knew he was going to be strong and fast, and he can punch, so I had to show true grit to pull through, and I did.
“Probably in the eighth or ninth round he was wearing down a bit. I was hitting him with shots and he was just standing still, and then he was blinking a lot.
“Keith Thurman is out for a while so maybe a fight at home next and then fight Keith Thurman next year.
“Skill wise, me and Kell Brook are the most skilled fighters in this division and I’m the No. 1 in the weight division now.
“This was a great experience in my young career and my first world title in front of nearly 30,000 in the champion’s home down. This was a legacy defining fight and it shows I have strong grit and I can pull it out.”