‘Don’t be surprised when Kell Brook beats Gennady Golovkin’ says Sheffield team-mate

Flashback to the WBA Inter-Continental title fight at Hillsborough Leisure Centre.....Sheffield's Kell Brook in action Lovemore N'Dou
Flashback to the WBA Inter-Continental title fight at Hillsborough Leisure Centre.....Sheffield's Kell Brook in action Lovemore N'Dou

The sport of boxing’s considered opinion seems to be that a Kell Brook victory over Gennady Golovkin would be a history-defining upset which would send shock waves around the planet.

If the locally-cherished welterweight champion beats the middleweight ruler, however, there is one corner of the globe that won’t be the least bit surprised.

That’s Brook’s Ingle gym in Wincobank, Sheffield, a centre that has been churning out champions since 1964.

“At the gym we always said Kell would win three belts, welterweight, light middle and middleweight, he’s just doing it in another order” said his training-mate Atif Safiq. “When he’s won this, he could go down to light middle and clean up there, no problem. He’ll be flying.

“For Kell, it is all systems go, he is really on it. People who talk about him fighting at middleweight don’t really know him. He isn’t going up two divisions, really, he is going down two. He is a natural at middleweight, certainly light middleweight.

“When people see him in the ring with GGG then they will know. Kell’s strength will really be a factor.

“He’ll be so much stronger” said Shafiq, 22, from Rotherham who aims to return from a hand injury at the end of the year.

“Another big advantage Kell has is his mental strength. Nothing gets to him. It’s what sets him apart. He is not fazed by anything. In California, (2014; world title win) he was in the same hotel as Shawn Porter’s team and certainly did not look out of place there.

“He just goes to places to do a job and that job is to win and he will do it again. He is elite level...and when he proves it again, there will be no doubters left.

“It won’t be an upset for the gym when he wins - we expect him to beat GGG. We’ve seen what he goes through to win belts and everybody else in the gym knows what it takes now to do it themselves, it is good for the rest of us who aspire to what he has achieved.”

Atif Shafiq

Atif Shafiq

Shafiq watched first-hand as Brook trained hard at his Fuerteventura hot-weather training camp.

“Things are going well and it was good to be part of that” he said. “Personally, I am almost back. I injured my hand in a road bike accident in January and it has set me back, although I’m always in the gym and should be back by the end of the year” said the Ingle man.

“The injury has set me back 12 months, but it has given me time to develop and mature and get stronger.

“I am a late-bloomer and this might actually have helped me.

“I had been on a roll stopping my last opponent, a tough welterweight (Nicaraguan Santos Medrano) in three rounds. I’ll be back soon.”

* Lovemore N’dou, the retired boxer who lost to Brook at Hillsborough Leisure Centre five years ago, says: “I’ve seen a lot of guys do lots of weight-training and reach the weight but it slows them down. But if Brook has done it the right way, his speed will work to his advantage. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he won.”

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