Brook vs Rabchenko: Sparring enabled Kell Brook to test old injuries, says Eddie Hearn
By Richard Damerell & James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 27/02/18 7:04pm
Kell Brook regained his confidence and his toughness during difficult sparring sessions to prepare for his comeback fight, revealed promoter Eddie Hearn.
Brook meets Sergey Rabchenko on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, after suffering serious eye socket injuries in each of his previous two defeats to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr.
"Fighters are unique people. Of course, you get hit in sparring and Kell has been hit hard so he's felt it on his cheeks," Hearn told Sky Sports.
He is incredibly tough and courageous to want to come back, prove people wrong and be a world champion again.
"This time, he's used to it and it's nothing new. He is incredibly tough and courageous to want to come back, prove people wrong and be a world champion again. People should respect that.
"With the injuries and defeats that he has had, it's just about getting through Saturday. That's all we care about. I'm really surprised Rabchenko was the guy that [Brook's team] chose because he can punch and comes forward relentlessly.
"He is a pressure fighter but that should suit Kell. The good news for fans is that we will see where Kell is at in his career, at 154lbs. Rabchenko is bang up for this."
The vacant WBC 'silver' super-welterweight will be up for grabs when Brook meets Rabchenko in Sheffield.
The full version of that title is held by Jermell Charlo, the 30-0 American, while Amir Khan also remains a high-profile option for Brook in the future.
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"I noticed that when we signed Amir Khan, it gave Kell a sting in his tail," Hearn said. "The last four weeks of camp have been sensational. The weight is so perfect for him. He hits so hard at this weight. The problem last time was not just making the weight - it was the IBF check-weight. He couldn't refuel.
"All being well, I want Kell to have a week-off then be back in the gym. At this stage of his career he can't afford [a break]. He has got to make the most of what he's got left - probably three to five fights. The plan is box again quickly, it could be June or July. Then to jump in the deep end towards the end of the year, in an ideal world against Amir Khan. Whether it's Khan, Charlo, Sadam Ali, Manny Pacquiao.
"His career is on the line. If he loses on Saturday, it's over."
Watch Brook vs Rabchenko from Sheffield, live on Saturday, March 3, on Sky Sports Main Event & Action, from 7.30pm.