Kell Brook, a former welterweight titleholder and standout fighter in his generation, has announced his retirement from boxing at age 36.
Brook gave the news to Gareth A. Davies at the Telegraph, and had this to say:
“I’ve had a long chat with my family and my parents, and it’s over for me. I’ll never box again. ... Truth is, boxing is a very, very tough, dangerous sport, one in which you can be legally killed in the ring, and I’ve finished now with all my faculties intact.”
Brook was asked if he’d possibly return, which is always a question you have to give any boxer since boxing retirements can be so fleeting, but said “it’s not there anymore,” and that he doesn’t see it happening.
If he stays retired, Brook goes out on something of a high note, knocking out longtime media rival Amir Khan in their Feb. 19 fight in Manchester. It was a fight years overdue from its real peak, but still wound up being a big event because commercially, boxing is often just about personalities, rivalry, and being well-matched for where fighters are in their careers, not simply about being in career primes anymore.
Brook’s best win probably came in 2014, when he went to California and took the IBF welterweight title from Shawn Porter via decision. He had a forgettable reign after that, to be honest, defending three times in mid-tier world title fights against Jo Jo Dan, Frankie Gavin, and Kevin Bizier, before taking a bold, daring move up to middleweight to fight Gennadiy Golovkin in 2016.
It wound up a bad idea. Brook showed his skills, but also had his eye socket fractured in the TKO-5 loss. When he returned just under nine months later to defend his welterweight title against rising star Errol Spence Jr, he had his other eye socket fractured, losing his belt via 11th round knockout.
Brook’s career never really recovered from two tough, punishing losses. He moved up to 154 and beat Sergey Rabchenko, Michael Zerafa, and Mark DeLuca in 2018-20, but attempts to land the Khan fight fell short. He got the call for a WBO welterweight title fight against Terence Crawford in Nov. 2020, largely because Top Rank had no big-name options for Crawford to fight, and was stopped in four.
The fight with Khan finally happening gives Brook that big fight and that emotional high to leave the sport behind, to take no further risks in his career. There had been talk of him potentially fighting Conor Benn, a Matchroom welterweight on the rise, but Brook never did seem interested in serving himself up as a stepping stone, and for understandable reasons.
If that’s the end of the road for Kell Brook, he retires with a record of 40-3 (28 KO), and should have the respect of boxing fans around the world. He took tough fights, took some tough losses, and had some good wins.