It’s official! For real this time! Longtime British rivals Amir Khan and Kell Brook have reached terms and are officially scheduled to square off in the ring in a February 19th Matchroom welterweight main event, headlining in Manchester on Sky Sports Box Office. Both fighters held an official press conference early this morning (U.S. time, anyway) and shared their enthusiasm for this opportunity to finally settle years and years of personal disdain towards one another.
Unlike most pressers, this one started off with the tensions on high as both fighters came into the room and went straight into a face off, which is normally used to end these sort of media conferences. The two literally went nose-to-nose straightaway and had to immediately be separated before either of them even touched the microphone.
When the two finally sat down to field some questions from Adam Smith, the first was directed towards Brook, who was asked how he felt finally landing the fight he’s sought for such a long period of time.
“Adam, you know how long this has been going on,” Brook started. “Me and him, it’s been 17 years this has been talked about. Even the negotiations, it’s been incredibly hard work, it’s been on, it’s been off, it’s been on, it’s been off. But finally got it across the line. I’m ecstatic that the fans are gonna see this fight, what they’ve wanted to see for years. And I’m just sick of people coming up to me and asking ‘when are you gonna fight, when’s it happening?’ Now we’ve got a date, February 19th in Manchester, and that’s when Amir Khan hits the deck for the final time.”
Then, when asked about where their longtime bitterness towards one another stems from, Brook replied:
“It started from the original promoters back in the day. We’ve always had it we’re gonna be fighting each other but he’s always seemed to veer off. He’s never given me no respect, he’s never acknowledged me. He’s saying ‘fight this guy and I’ll fight you, win a world title I’ll fight you,’ he’s always run away. I think it’s come to this part of his career where there’s nowhere else for him to run so now he wants to fight. This is the biggest fight out there for him, the biggest money fight, and there’s nowhere else for him to go so this is when he wants it, now. So it’s been so frustrating for me, I’ve wanted this for many years.”
Amir Khan was then asked about whether or not he’s been avoiding Brook for all these years.
“I respect him as a fighter...in my last ten years I’ve fought two of the best pound-for-pound fighters — maybe got beat but still young, fighting the best out there. Never ran from Kell, never needed to. Obviously what I’ve achieved in the sport speaks for itself. But look, we’re here now, no point in crying about the past. At that time in the past I didn’t think he deserved the fight but now it’s come to a stage where I’m waiting to give him a good shot right in the face. I want to put him in his place. That’s what it’s all about, end of the day.
“All that talk he’s been giving, all the big talk he’s been saying ‘I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that,’ come Feb. 19th it’s gonna be time to see what he’s gonna do and how he’s gonna back them words up.
“It’s like I’m coming a level down taking this fight. I fought the best around the world. I’ve conquered America and for me to give the British fans this fight, I am coming levels down because people want to see this fight. People want to see me punch him in the face, and that’s what they’re gonna get.”
Watch the full opening press conference in the video link above.