Boxing: Brook believes he can send Pacman packing

Sheffield showman is set to increase Britain's stable of world champs to five

You would never guess Kell Brook's real name in a thousand years. Make that more than two thousand in fact. Kelvin, Kelly? No, it's Ezekiel, after the Hebrew prophet in the Old Testament who was noted as something of a miracle-worker.

And a miracle is what most believe Britain's charismatic welterweight champion will require should he come fist-to-face this year with Manny Pacquiao. For he is the No 1 contender for the phenomenal Filipino's WBO title.

Characteristically, the one person who isn't intimidated by the prospect of a pounding from the Pacman is the unbeaten 24-year-old from Sheffield, with a punch and a persona much in the mould of his home-town icon Naseem Hamed, not least when it comes to self-confidence and chutzpah. "Everyone knows what a great fighter Pacquiao is," he says. "He's a machine. But he's been beaten before and he can be beaten again, and I've got the style to do it. The Wincobank style."

Wincobank? That's the area in downtown Sheffield which houses the atmospheric workshop run by that sage of sock, Brendan Ingle, which has become as prolific a production line of champions here as as Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym, the current campus of Pacquiao and Amir Khan, in Los Angeles.

Those who have graduated from Wincobank's fistic academy to world class – Hamed, Herol Graham, Johnny Nelson, Junior Witter, Ryan Rhodes and now Brook – have all benefited from what they call the "Ingle tingle", with its trademark low-slung hands, sleight-of-fist counter-punching and swivelling footwork. Hit and hop it before they can hit back. "It's that tingle which has put me where I am today," declares Brook, who holds the WBO Intercontinental belt. "I've watched and learned from them all and there's a bit of Naz in me. But my style's my own. This is going to be my year, and I want to be a world champion by the end of it."

But his promoter Frank Warren says: "Kell isn't ready for Pacquiao yet. I keep telling him he must have a little patience. He's got to sit tight for a while, get a few more decent wins. But he is on the cusp of doing something really big and he will definitely be a world champion."

As leading contender to Pacquiao, Brook is in a good bargaining position. But what Warren may have in mind is to try to match him against one of the less fearsome mortals who hold other versions of the title – American Andre Berto (WBC), Slovenian Jan Zaveck (IBF) or Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko (WBA). Warren has also made his erstwhile marquee man Khan "a multi-million-dollar" offer to fight Brook, which the WBA light-welter champion twittered "made me laugh out loud". Khan claims he regularly beat up Brook when they sparred as amateurs but Brook insists it was the other way round. "It would be a huge fight for Britain," he says. Indeed, but breath should not be held.

However, Warren and Ingle predict that Brook, emphatic winner of all his 26 bouts, will be one of the most exciting faces of 2011, the one most likely to extend Britain's quartet of world champions (David Haye, Khan, Carl Froch and Ricky Burns) to a fistful.

At 70, Ingle nowadays delegates the coaching to sons Dominic and John but he says of Brook, whose father brought him to the gym as a "right handful" of a nine-year-old: "We've watched him grow into a fine amateur and now a British champion and world-title contender. The moves he has, he can be as good, if not better, than Naz. But he's a young, good-looking kid and he has to learn to live the life of a fighter all the time." Warren concurs: "What I want him to do is learn from Naz what he did wrong as well as what he got right. He's got to learn to get it right outside the ring as well as inside."

Last July, Brook was convicted of an assault in a Sheffield nightclub for which he was tagged and subjected to a 8pm-6am curfew, escaping community service or worse after Warren wrote to the court. "Being tagged stopped him going out at night but at least it didn't stop him training."

Brook admits: "It was a big wake-up call. Now I know what I want and what it takes to get there. I was talking to Naz a couple of months back and he said, 'Don't cut corners or else you get cut short'. There has been no cutting corners. I've just been getting my head down."

With Haye and Wladimir Klitschko finally squaring up, Khan planning a title defence here in April, Froch favourite for the Super Six title, Brook and now Nathan Cleverly and James DeGale moving into world-title contention, 2011 should see boxing continue its spirited resurrection after Audleygate – taking a leaf, apparently, from the book of the original Ezekiel, the Bible puncher whose party piece was raising people from the dead.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Implementation Consultant

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Recruitment Genius: Service Desk Co-ordinator / Client Services Administrator

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Warehouse Assistant

£14807 - £15470 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manufacturer and supplier ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Security Consultant (CREST/CHECK/OSCP)

£45000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Security Consu...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks