Welterweight titleholder Kell Brook and mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr. will prepare to meet in May in Brook's hometown of Sheffield, England, after their camps made a deal on Monday.
The IBF confirmed the deal, the location of the fight and a date of May 20 -- though that could change -- in a letter to registered promoters. The letter, obtained by ESPN, also announced that the purse bid scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon at IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey, had been canceled.
Brook's promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, said in an email to ESPN that the date likely will move to May 27.
The purse bid was initially scheduled to take place last Tuesday, but the IBF gave the camps an additional week when Hearn and TGB Promotions CEO Tom Brown, who represents Spence, asked for an extension because they were close to making a deal.
They struck one Monday, even though many thought Brook, who has been troubled making the 147-pound division limit, might opt to either move up to junior middleweight or make a deal for a much more lucrative fight with British countryman Amir Khan. When a deal for Khan fizzled -- in part because of Khan's demand for 70 percent of the money -- and there was no obvious big-money fight for Brook at junior middleweight, he opted to fight Spence, a dangerous rising contender.
More than anything, however, Brook has professed a desire to defend the belt that he worked so hard to get rather than just giving it up or allowing it to be stripped if he did not face Spence.
"I know I have a mandatory with Errol Spence. He's a very talented fighter but not really heard of in the U.K. or even America, but we all know he can fight," Brook told ESPN last month in New York. "It's hard to get up for guys like this because he doesn't have the name yet. I want the big-money fights if I'm going to make 147 pounds. ... I'm in a situation where I still might have to defend against Spence because I don't want to lose my title without losing it in the ring."
Brook, 30, reiterated his view on Sunday on social media, writing, "All that just to give it up? Never ducked a challenge in my life. Here to give the fans what they want. Errol Spence Jr. you are next."
Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) could not get a big-name opponent to fight him last fall, so he moved up two weight classes to middleweight and challenged unified titleholder Gennady Golovkin in September at the sold-out O2 Arena in London. It was a major event and an action-packed fight, but Golovkin broke the orbital bone around Brook's right eye in a fifth-round knockout victory.
Brook, who will be making his fourth title defense, later had surgery to repair the injury and will be fighting for the first time since.
Spence (21-0, 18 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, was a 2012 U.S. Olympian and the 2015 ESPN.com prospect of the year. Although Spence, 27, has not yet had a chance to face a top opponent, many view him as the toughest opponent of Brook's career besides Golovkin.
In his most significant fight so far, Spence pummeled former junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri in a fifth-round knockout in April before turning in a similarly dominant sixth-round knockout of Italy's Leonard Bundu in August in a world title elimination fight that made him the mandatory challenger for Brook's title.