Welterweight titlist Kell Brook and mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr. hammered out a deal for their much-anticipated fight about six weeks ago, but Wednesday they met face-to-face at a news conference in Sheffield, England, as Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn officially announced the date and site.
The 147-pound world title fight will take place on May 27 at Bramall Lane, an outdoor soccer stadium that is home to Sheffield United FC in Brook's hometown of Sheffield, Hearn said. The fight will air live in the United States on Showtime and on Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the United Kingdom.
"I'm so excited about this fight and also about making history in my city," Brook said. "It's long been a dream of mine to fight outdoors at Bramall Lane and I'm pleased to do that in the biggest fight in the welterweight division."
Brook, 30, who travelled to Carson, California, and outpointed Shawn Porter to win the belt in 2014, will be making his fourth title defense. In September, Brook moved up two weight classes to middleweight for an audacious shot at unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin but suffered a fifth-round knockout loss in London.
After the fight many thought Brook (36-1, 25 KOs), who struggles mightily to make 147 pounds, would vacate his welterweight title and fight at junior middleweight rather than take on such a dangerous opponent as Spence. But Brook just could not bring himself to give up the belt that he had worked so hard to win.
"I saw many people talk about how I would avoid Errol Spence," Brook said. "They don't know me, they don't know what I'm about. All I've ever wanted to do is to give the fans the fights they want and they have it right here on May 27. I'm going to show the world that I'm the best welterweight on the planet and I'm going to do it right before my people's eyes."
Hearn said he was not at all surprised that Brook opted to fight Spence rather than vacate the title to fight in a heavier weight division.
"This is one of the best fights in world boxing," Hearn said. "Many believed that Kell Brook would look to avoid Errol Spence but he is a proud man who never ducks a challenge. Coming off the fight with GGG, this is an extremely tough fight to come back to, but I believe Kell Brook is the best welterweight in the world and he will have the chance to prove it on May 27. It's 'The Special One' vs. 'The Truth,' a historic event at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane. We are planning an unforgettable night."
The 27-year-old Spence (21-0, 18 KOs), the 2015 ESPN.com prospect of the year and a 2012 U.S. Olympian from DeSoto, Texas, earned the mandatory shot by virtue of a monstrous sixth-round knockout of Leonard Bundu in their world elimination fight in August. The knockout was Spence's eighth in a row, a streak that also included a one-sided fifth-round knockout of former junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri last April in the fight before he crushed Bundu.
Spence has been anxious for his title shot and now he has it all set.
"I'm happy I'm finally getting an opportunity to accomplish a lifelong dream of becoming a world champion," Spence said. "I feel that this is one of the best and biggest fights in world boxing and I am 100 percent focused and determined to bring the belt back home to the U.S. On May 27, I will be more than ready."