The animosity between Khan and Brook was on show once again in the final press conference before Saturday’s fight
Amir Khan and Kell Brook’s press conference to publicise their long-running grudge fight in Manchester on Saturday night descended into an ugly slanging match as the boxers traded homophobic slurs and accusations of alleged racism after Brook said he would smash Khan’s “poppadom chin”.
Brook, from Sheffield, who is mixed race, and Khan, a British Pakistani Muslim, have had a feud going back over a decade, and finally, both now 35, they will meet in a bragging-rights fight. The pair came face-to-face and exchanged a series of insults with Khan questioning his opponent over comments about his “poppadom chin”, as they then traded homophobic slurs.
The row began as Brook said they had shared a room together while on the England team during their amateur days. “That doesn’t sound right…” responded Khan. “Listen, I haven’t shared a room with you, don’t be saying that.” Brook aimed fire at Khan by saying: “It’s you who was on gay sites w—— yourself off.”
Khan then questioned Brook over comments he had allegedly made in the lead-up to this showdown.
“I saw a video where you said that you were going to smash that poppadom chin in. You said that, didn’t you? The way you said that was really sad. When I saw that video, I thought, wow – one, why are you having a dig at me, but two why are you having a dig at my race and being racist. So for that, he needs to get a beating. I’ve never been a racist and I show my love to everyone.
“I’m sure he’s got fans in the Pakistani, Indian and Asian community and for him to come out with comments like that… you should care about your people. We aren’t going to be friends after all the racial comments. One thing was the hatred, but the racism, he has taken it too far. How can I be friends with someone like that?”
But Brook denied his comments had been racist and were merely intended to highlight the fragility of his opponent’s chin in the boxing ring. “He’s trying to get everyone on his side to make out that I’m some kind of racist character,” Brook said. “I’m not. There’s no way where I’m from I’m racist at all. I didn’t mean anything at all. I meant how delicate poppadoms are; they just break the same as his chin. That is the only angle I was coming at there.”
So no undertones of racism? “Absolutely zero,” Brook replied. “I’ve got Asian and Indian people I train with, and fans. It’s pathetic how he is trying to portray me.”
The pair had indulged in further insults earlier. “I’m worried about Kell’s health after the beating that I’m going to give him,” Khan told the Sky Sports news broadcast. “The beating he’s going to get is something he’s never got before. Ten years this has been going on for, this is my time to put him in his place.
“Kell has been very obsessed with my career, I think he’s a fanboy, that’s the honest truth. I’ve been in his head for so long, I probably need to start paying rent.”
Brook, who teased that he may come in above the catchweight 149lb on Saturday – every pound above will be a £100,000 fine – is equally driven to win.
“We’re three sleeps away, he’s definitely going to sleep on Saturday night when I smash him in. It seems that he has only taken this fight because he thinks I’m half broken. He’s made a massive mistake.”
And on his weight, he added: “It might be expensive to make or I might just want to keep them pounds. But I might be lying. Mind games. He’s been playing mind games.” The fighters’ trainers also traded blows.
Dominic Ingle, who has trained Brook since he was nine, said: “I am surprised that Amir took the fight. He is a celebrity, a superstar. He has more to lose than to gain.”
Brian McIntyre, trainer to undefeated three-weight world champion Terence Crawford who has beaten both Britons, took Khan into camp for this contest. “Kell only went three rounds against Crawford. He’s got nothing left.”
The two fighters will square off again at Friday’s weigh-in.