Kell Brook has defended trainer Dominic Ingle amid criticism of his decision to throw in the towel during his WBC and IBF middleweight title defeat by the fearsome Gennady Golovkin.
With Brook under intense pressure from the champion’s latest assault, already appearing tired and his right eye cut and swollen, Ingle ended the fight to conclude a resilient performance.
The challenger was taken to hospital with a broken eye socket before being released in the early hours of Sunday morning. He is to be operated on in the coming week, before preparing for an eventual return to the ring at light-middleweight.
“I came back after the second round and said ‘I can’t see out of the right eye, Dominic’,” Brook, 30, told Sky Sports. “I was talking to him, and he knows me, he saw me growing up as a kid.
“He’s like a father figure. It was the right decision and I can fight another day. I was getting caught, and getting caught. It could have ended up seriously bad.
“As much as the loss has been gutting and upsetting, I’m excited and happy the fans have seen a great battle against a great fighter, a throwback fighter.
“I’m looking forward to getting straight back in the top boys. I’ve had a taste of this magnitude of fight and I want this again. I’ll be back and I’ll be twice as strong and twice as fast.”
Brook had been the significant underdog having stepped up from welterweight against one of the world’s leading and most destructive fighters. Few observers believed him capable of winning, but his promoter Eddie Hearn regardless maintained fighting Golovkin was the right thing to do.
“Peter Nelson (executive president of American television network HBO) has already come up to me and said: ‘We need to talk about Kell Brook’,” said Hearn. “That was part of the plan: to broaden the brand. So actually, it was a very smart move.”
Brook’s domestic rival Amir Khan last fought at 155lbs when losing to Mexico’s Saul Alvarez in May but is expected to return at welterweight in 2017.
The weight Brook gained to challenge Golovkin, combined with his previous, intense struggles to make the 147lb limit means he is likely incapable of returning there. Hearn, however, again spoke of his desire to match the two together.
“As a promoter there is nothing better in a build-up than two fighters who don’t particularly like each other,” the 37-year-old said. “But for now it’s about getting that eye socket tidied up, having some rest and he’ll probably be returning in the spring, summer next year.”
The 34-year-old Golovkin’s performance again demonstrated why he is considered one of the greatest middleweights in history and why he is so widely feared. His possession of the IBF, WBC and WBA titles - the WBA refused to sanction theirs for Saturday’s fight - has made WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders his next target.
Victory over Saunders would unify the division’s four world titles, and asked who he next wanted to fight, the Kazakh said: “First of all Billy Joe Saunders, and then ‘Canelo’ (Saul Alvarez). Now I want a unification fight. I would absolutely come back to the UK to fight. I love the UK, I’m a big fan of London.
“(Brook’s) strong but he’s not a middleweight. In the first round I felt I’m stronger. In the second I wanted a street fight.”
His promoter Tom Loeffler said that America’s Danny Jacobs is another potential opponent, and added: “Maybe (Brook’s performance) will give (other opponents the) courage to actually sign a contract.”
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.”