• Inside Boxing

Inside Boxing: How Kell Brook became world champion

August 20, 2014
Kell Brook follows in the world title footsteps of gym-mates Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson and Junior Witter © Getty Images

Trainer Dominic Ingle describes to Nick Parkinson how Kell Brook's points win over American Shawn Porter for the IBF world welterweight title last Saturday was 20 years in the making

"I was so confident Kell would win Saturday's fight because he is probably the last fighter that Brendan, my dad, spent a great deal of time on from an early age at the Wincobank Gym in Sheffield.

The most important time for a fighter is when they come into the gym for the first time from nine or ten years old. The influence those early years can have on them, when they can absorb stuff and learn, will determine how far they will go.

Kell started training at our gym when he was nine. He started with five or six other lads and there's a photo of them all on the wall in the gym. Kell's the only one who stuck it out.

When Kell first came into our gym we had the likes of Naseem Hamed, Ryan Rhodes and Johnny Nelson in there. We get lots of lads that come in and I'm busy training the other guys. But this particular kid I remember when he came first with his dad because he didn't like it.

I remember Kell watching me taking Naseem Hamed on the pads. I asked him to do a bit of footwork but he kept looking back and watching Naz. Naz mesmerized him

Then he came back two years later and I remember him watching me taking Naz on the pads. I asked him to do a bit of footwork but he kept looking back and watching Naz. Naz mesmerized him. Over the years you would see Kell doing things that were impressive and he would come every day. As time went on he would win amateur championships.

As with many champions, it is the formative years that have a big effect on them. Naz and Brendan were very influential on Kell. My dad probably spent nine years with Kell and every time he was in trouble he would go and have a word at the school or wherever. Whatever Brendan said, he did. He had seen what Brendan had done for Naz and he knew that if he just listened it would pay off.

He went and trained with someone else when he was 18 and that was a blow, but he didn't have a particularly successful time and he eventually came back.

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A lot of people were saying "Kell is going to get beat" but I knew that as long as Kell nullified what Shawn Porter does well and did what he did best, he would win. We practised tying him up, pushing him down and pushing him away and avoiding the shot that Porter catches you with unaware.

Porter and his team expected Kell to fall to pieces just like Porter's previous two opponents. We weren't blown away by his two wins over Devon Alexander and Paulie Malignaggi: they flattered Porter.

Kell started training for last Saturday's fight a week before Porter fought Malignaggi; when they moved it back to August I just said to Kell to train through it and it will happen soon. There have been some dark times for Kell over the last year or so with cancellations and injuries postponing fights.

When the fight fell through against Devon Alexander, he was thinking "there are easier jobs than this". He boxed Carson Jones and wasn't really motivated and he wasn't really motivated for the one before Porter against Alvaro Robles. But as soon as Porter-Malignaggi was over, a switch went on in him.

We stayed in Las Vegas for two weeks and then in Los Angeles the week before the fight. He trained at the Top Rank gym over there and I just knew that after 16 weeks of training he was as prepared as he ever has been.

You see certain things in fighters. Kell is called Special K but he should be called Special X because he has that X factor that just makes him win. I had the same feeling that Kell will come out winning no matter what as I did with Naz.

Naz was the first world champion for the gym, then came Johnny Nelson and Junior Witter. Now we have Kell and we believe Kid Galahad will be the fifth. Kell paid for five or six of the lads in the gym to go out there to America in camp with him because he likes the banter and the competition in the gym. It was like a home from home for him. Galahad was one of them and he helped keep Kell on his toes. Galahad and the others got a buzz off seeing Kell winning - it will have inspired them, just as seeing Naz win titles inspired Kell.

Kid Galahad's next opponent on September 20 in Sheffield is Canada's Tyson Cave, who is ranked No. 6 with the WBA world governing body. The WBA is the route we are going and we are hoping to force a fight with Scott Quigg. Kid Galahad will be the next one after Kell Brook."

Kell Brook set up a "home-from-hom" camp in America in the build-up to defeating Shawn Porter © Getty Images
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