SHEFFIELD boxer Kell Brook’s dreams of putting his name up in lights and producing one of the biggest upsets in boxing history were dashed by a ruthless and clinical Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin at an electric O2 Arena on Saturday.
Brook insisted in the build-up to the fight that he was going to “shock the world”, but while he was able to put on a stunning show for five pulsating rounds, his bid to dethrone the man widely regarded as the No 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world faltered as his trainer Dominic Ingle threw in the towel midway through the fifth round.
The Sheffield man was previously unbeaten in 36 fights and went into the contest buoyant despite making the huge step up in weight.
That spring in his step was quickly halted as Golovkin wobbled his challenger in the first round and it looked like it would be curtains early doors for the Yorkshireman.
But he quickly recovered and saw out the opening round, before taking the second in scintillating fashion, putting together some accurate and stinging combinations that had Golovkin squinting at times.
Both men traded and landed numerous heavy blows to head and body throughout the third and fourth rounds, with neither man willing to back down.
Much to the surprise of the 20,000-capacity crowd though, Ingle ensured his man would take no more punishment with his eye swollen up and his eye socket apparently broken.
Brook, who was whisked straight to hospital after the fight, said: “I’m devastated.
“He can obviously punch, but I expected him to be a bigger puncher. In the second round he broke my eye-socket, but I was seeing three or four of him so it became very difficult.
“I was settling into it and throwing some good punches, but when you’re seeing three or four, it is hard.”
Golovkin insisted he respected Brook’s speed and boxing ability afterwards, but not his power.
“I wanted to bring the drama show because I know Kell is a very good fighter but sorry, he’s not a Middleweight,” said the Kazakh, who took his unblemished record to 36 wins with 33 knockouts with his clinical victory.
“I know my style, I respect him, he’s good but not so strong. He just touched but I didn’t feel his power.
“So many punches but I didn’t feel them. I respect Kell, he is real and thanks to his corner, for his career and for his family, it’s correct because I feel it’s game over, it’s finished.”
Brook quickly rubbished Golovkin’s claims that he wasn’t hurt by his punches, saying: “Believe me: I hurt him. When you’re in a fight I see every moment, and I saw his legs buckle a couple of times.
“But I hurt him. I take nothing away from him because he’s a scary champion, but I would like to fight him again.
“My eye stopped me coming forward.
“I am a warrior and I wanted to carry on. You would have to kill me to take me out.
“I was starting to get into it, but we knew how hard the first few rounds were going to be.
“So you will have to talk to my coach to understand that.”
Ingle was jeered by the bulk of a disappointed crowd, who were glued to the action for the five rounds of action, following his decision to end the contest.
But he has received praise from Golovkin and his trainer Abel Sanchez and Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
Hearn added: “Kell stepped up and fought the best, he was ahead on the scorecards but at the end of the day his eye socket has gone.
“He would fight all night but – I know the fans want to see the fight go on as long as possible – but you can’t be fighting a guy like Golovkin when you can’t focus on the guy.
“Kell deserves a huge amount of respect and I believe he is still one of the best fighters in the world. For five or six rounds he has given Golovkin a hell of a fight.”
As for the future, it looks increasingly doubtful that Brook will return to welterweight and will more than likely vacate his title and make the step up to light-middleweight or perhaps stay at middleweight.
“I think I’m more suited at light-middleweight,” he added.
“I knew Canelo (Alvarez) and (Liam) Smith are fighting, and I would like to fight the winner of that.
“I fought the man everybody was scared of, and I deserve a shot.”
Brook, 30, was vying to make history in becoming the first welterweight to step up two divisions to win a middleweight world title for over 50 years.
Ultimately, that quest proved just beyond the Sheffield man, although his stock and global profile will no doubt have risen as a result of taking on world-renowned pound-for-pound great Golovkin.