In one of many pre-show soundbites, Kell Brook observed ahead of his belated but still highly anticipated grudge match with longtime rival Amir Khan, “Even though I’ve won a world title and been in with some real animals, this is probably the fight I’ll be remembered for.”

It was hard to argue. While Khan had the memorable Olympic silver medal from Athens, as a 17-year-old, one-man GB squad, and went on to become both a unified world champion (at super-lightweight) and, via his US tenure and reality TV appearances, a crossover star, Brook had perhaps failed to fulfil his vast potential, despite a short and unremarkable reign as IBF welter ruler. The Sheffield man had toiled hard and perhaps waited too long before his first shot, but in beating an in-form Shawn Porter on US soil claimed perhaps the best victory of either man. Overmatched opponents followed before questionable decisions led to punishing back-to-back inside-schedule defeats – against first a fearsome Gennady Golovkin up at middleweight, then boiling back down to defend against a rising Errol Spence. Suffering fractures to a different eye socket in each loss, Brook found himself in a downward spiral. Sure, Khan spent far too long chasing Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, to no avail, but his defeat to Canelo was expected and his average run at 147lbs still featured good performances, against the respected likes of Devon Alexander and Luis Collazo.

At this stage of their careers, both faded and inactive, Brook needed the win more, for his legacy. Khan’s was more secure but losing to his greatest nemesis, who had always insisted he was the superior fighter, would still stick in his craw. Following a sixth-round stoppage win for Brook, Khan will have a lot to think about.

After the final delay – a glove issue on Brook’s side apparently resolved by an enforced change in the ring – the two finally squared up. Both came out firing in round one with Khan getting buzzed towards the end of the session. Khan recovered well in the next and gave as good as he got, both seemingly happy to trade, or unable to avoid it. Khan enjoyed the better of the third but Brook had him in serious trouble in the last 30 seconds. Amir once again countered effectively off the back foot in round four, but Brook came on strong and pressured the Bolton man.

A more patient attack from Brook began earlier in the fifth, Khan taking some heavy blows but surviving, albeit looking increasingly ragged. Brook, smelling blood carried his momentum into round six and unloaded until the referee stepped in to rescue an immensely brave but outgunned Khan.

The chief support saw Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas, following tight decision defeats to Katie Taylor and Terri Harper, win her third world title challenge. Way above her normal weight, she captured the vacant WBO super-welter crown in explosive fashion, against Chris Namus of Uruguay, a late substitute for Ewa Brodnicka.

Southpaw Jonas scored a heavy knockdown at the end of the opening round, then another early in the next saw the fight called off after Namus rose on wobbly legs.

Credit: Danny Flexen