Amir Khan v Kell Brook: How blockbuster fight was finally made after years of failed negotiations

For so long, Amir Khan v Kell Brook seemed destined to be the one that got away.

But on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena the former world champions, both 35, will at last settle their differences inside a ring.

Brook turned professional in 2004 and Khan - fresh off a silver medal at the Athens Olympics - did so the following year.

As the years rolled by, both achieved great heights in professional boxing. Yet, a blockbuster all-British affair could not be negotiated.

That was until Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom worked his magic, although it was no easy task.

"They both weren't easy to deal with if I'm honest," Shalom tells BBC Sport.

"They were like two kids. If one felt like the other one was getting advantage, he'd want to pull out."

It's all about timing

The two fighters could have clashed in 2010 when Bolton's Khan held the WBA super-lightweight title and was called out by Brook.

Or in 2012 when they sat side-by-side on Sky Sports boxing show Ringside and shared their own accounts of who came out top in a sparring session during the amateurs.

The fight would have perhaps seen them at their peak in 2015 when Sheffield's Brook - having defended his IBF welterweight crown - once again challenged Khan.

Critics say the bout is well past its sell-by-date, but Shalom insists now is "the perfect time and setting" for Khan-Brook.

"I think before there was almost too much to lose," he explains. "You had two British guys that had known each other since they were 17 and had world title-ambitions and wanted to conquer America.

"Fighting each other at that stage of their career maybe would have stopped one of them achieving that.

"The rivalry and legacy meant that there was too much on the line and too much to lose."


Daniel Dubois threatens to take Trevor Bryan's WBA belt

MDP Live - Daniel Dubois is set to battle it out for the world heavyweight title against WBA champion Trevor Bryan in the Spring after his first professional defeat. America's Trevor Bryan currently holds the WBA belt but his delayed fight with Germany's Manuel Charr has just failed for the umpteenth time.

And that means new Mike Tyson's 24-year-old Daniel Dubois, the No1 challenger who has bounced back from his November 2020 loss to Joe Joyce by two knockout wins, is next in line for the title. Bryan is promoted by America's renowned fighting enthusiast, Don King, so negotiations can still get very complicated.

Dynamite Dan - nicknamed Daniel Dubois - will battle for the belt in London or New York before chasing the world title after Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte finished their battles.

Dubois' career was on the brink following a tenth-round TKO defeat to Joyce. But back-to-back knockout victories over Bogdan Dinu and Joe Cusumano have seen the Greenwich giants revive their world title aspirations.

Dubois called Bryan after Cusumano's first-round crush last August, saying: "Look at me now, I'm back and I'm ready to go. Whoever's next. Maybe Trevor Bryan. He's got the title I want. But whoever. Come on one, come on everyone."

And promoter Frank Warren recently doubled down on Dubois' desire to take on the regular WBA champions. "Daniel will soon be back in business in one of our first shows of 2022. He has rebuilt this year in spectacular fashion and is now in the hunt for a world title in the New Year."

"The WBA is an obvious path for him to go down as he has been placed in the No.1 spot based on him winning the Interim title and the fight against champion Bryan is definitely interesting for us."

“Success against Bryan will put Daniel in a position to shoot the winner of the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua rematch later in 2022. So there are some big fights and nights in the pipeline for Daniel and 2022 will be a defining year for a young man I have always loved. believe destined to be on top."