Kell Brook Upsets Shawn Porter; British Blockbuster vs. Amir Khan Should Be Next

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Kell Brook Upsets Shawn Porter; British Blockbuster vs. Amir Khan Should Be Next
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Mauro Ranallo hit it right on the button.

Within moments of Jimmy Lennon Jr.’s proclamation that English-born Kell Brook was “the new” International Boxing Federation welterweight champion after 12 bloody rounds with Shawn Porter, the Showtime blow-by-blow man crystallized the old country’s thoughts eloquently.

“If you listen closely,” Ranallo said. “I’m sure you can hear the celebration over in the U.K.”

Indeed, though the tumult in Brook’s native Sheffield was eight time zones away from where “The Special One” earned his title—about 15 miles from downtown Los Angeles—it wasn’t hard to imagine the decibel spike once it became official the Union Jack’s championship roster had grown by one.

But even after Brook makes the 5,300-mile trek home and the frenzy tapers back to routine, there should be at least one more Englishman whose voice will stay hoarse for a few more weeks.

His name: Amir Khan.

Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

Not only did the upset at the StubHub Center derail heady plans for the next wave of American welterweights being groomed to succeed Floyd Mayweather Jr., it went a long way toward guaranteeing the country that hosted 2014’s biggest live fight crowd might very well repeat the feat next year.

It was a memorable stateside sight when 80,000 fans crammed into London’s Wembley Stadium to watch super middleweights Carl Froch and George Groves last spring, and there’s little reason to believe the pre-existing friction between Brook and Khan couldn’t create a similar blaze next time around.

The two have paired up in a prolonged verbal dance across the British media for the last several months, with Brook’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, reportedly offering Khan $8 million to meet his man after Khan’s would-be shot with Mayweather was denied in favor of Marcos Maidana.

Khan then lobbed a volley of his own prior to Brook’s fight with Porter, insisting to ESPN.co.uk that he wanted an immediate match with the winner and that Brook had been using his fame to draw attention.

I've fought all over the world and my goal is to get the biggest fights out there and fighting for the world titles. Brook built his name up by saying he wants to fight me. He has said less recently because he has to win this and the only way I will fight him is if he beats Porter or a name.

Now that Brook has copped an IBF belt, he suggests he’s already earned another title, too.

“All the top fighters are probably watching this fight, and I welcome those fights,” he told Showtime’s Jim Gray in the post-fight ring. “It’s been a long time coming and I’ve been sacrificing for this moment, and now it’s worth it 10 times over. I’m the top dog in England now.”

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Lingering U.K. intrigue aside, it’s not a bad matchup when it comes to the world stage, either.

Brook entered Saturday among the top seven welterweights, according to the IBF (1), IBO (4) and WBO (7), and Khan is deemed similarly elite by the WBC (1), WBA (4), WBO (6) and IBO (7).

Additionally, the two were slotted seventh and 11th, respectively, by the Independent World Boxing Rankings, which list all fighters in a given weight class regardless of their sanctioning body status.

“I’ve always thought Kell Brook would be a handful for anyone he faced in a world championship bout,” Showtime’s Al Bernstein said after Saturday’s fight. “He did exactly what he wanted to do in this fight.

“This man showed he is a world-class fighter.”

And now that he’s got a high-profile trinket, he’s about to become a world-class attraction, too.

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