SHEFFIELD’S Kell Brook was thwarted in his bid to shock the boxing world after an eye injury cut short his challenge of middleweight king Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin at The O2 Arena.
Brook's trainer Dominic Ingle was forced to throw in the towel in the fifth round as the Sheffield man's eye became heavily swollen after a barrage of shots from the Kazakh P4P great.
The challenge was momentarily wobbled in the first round and it looked like Golovkin would finish the bout early, but Brook recovered superbly and began to ease into the contest.
Golovkin promised drama and this bout delivered, as Brook went on the offensive and landed some superb combinations of his own.
Rounds two, three and four offered drama in abundance as both men successfully landed telling shots, both hurt at times.
The 34-year-old champion was visibly hurt by Brook's shots when he had his success, but ultimately the Yorkshireman was no longer able to continue and in came the towel from his corner midway through the fifth round of a pulsating bout.
Boos echoed around the capacity sell-out O2 Arena after Ingle threw in the towel, and Brook promised to go in search of the rematch.
Before Brook was taken to hospital, he spoke of his intention to return at 154lbs, and revealed he had suffered a suspected broken eye socket.
“I expected him to be a bigger puncher,” he said. “In the second round he broke my eye socket but I was tricking him, I was frustrating him. I was starting to settle into it but when you see three, four, five of them it’s difficult.
“I hurt him, when you’re in the fight you can see, his legs buckled a little. But I’m not taking anything away from Golovkin, I would fight him again, with a good eye. When you see five of them against a great champion, it’s tough.
“I would have to go back to the drawing board, I’d be most suited at light-middle. I know (Liam) Smith and ‘Canelo’ (Saul Alvarez) are fighting next week: I would love the winner.
“It wasn’t my night because there was much more to come from me but I was seeing five of them out there.
“I’m a warrior, I want to carry on, I was ready to fight on. Anyone who trains with me knows that.
“I was starting to come on. We knew the first five or six rounds would be tough, but you would have to talk to my coach to ask him why he pulled me out. I’ll be back.”
Despite Brook’s repeated success in landing punches, Golovkin insisted he was not hurt and spoke of his desire to fight Billy Joe Saunders.
“I knew that Kell was a very good fighter,” he said. “But he’s not a middleweight. He’s just not. I respect him, because he is very good, but he’s not so strong. He didn’t hurt me at all. There were a lot of punches, but I didn’t feel them. I respect Kell. And thanks to his corner.
“Now I want a unification fight. I would absolutely come back to the UK to fight, and I would like to fight Billy Joe Saunders for his belt. But I am open to everybody.”
Kid Galahad secured his second win after his suspension for an anti-doping violation with a fourth-round stoppage of Emiliano Salvini. He had also put the Italian down in the third.