Rusty Brooks retains title and sets sights on Khan dream fight
Kell Brook looked far from convincing as he recorded a unanimous points victory over Australia's Michael Zerafa in Saturday's super-welterweight fight in Sheffield.
Having spent the build-up to the fight taunting Amir Khan over what he claimed was the Bolton man's reluctance to fight him, the 32-year-old produced a performance which would hardly have had his compatriot running scared.
Despite a fast start in the opening round, the Yorkshireman was well below his best, looking laboured and allowing his unheralded opponent to land with far too many shots.
However, he was still too good for Zerafa, winning the final eliminator for the WBA super-welterweight world title by 118-110, 119-109 and 117-111 on the judges' scorecards.
Brook admitted after the fight, his first since March, he had felt "rusty" and "flat" before again turning his attention to Khan.
"I've got the buzz again, I'm reborn," Brook said. "Next year, 2019, I'm coming for them big boys. It's now or never. Amir, I'm ready, I'm hungry, I'm fit."
Khan appears more likely to pursue a fight against American welterweight Terence Crawford than focus on an all-British super-fight, but promoter Eddie Hearn admitted Brook's latest performance might prompt a change of heart.
"If I was Amir Khan I would be on the phone now to take this fight," he said.