Kell Brook battered and halted Amir Khan in the sixth round of a thrilling battle in Manchester on Saturday to settle their bitter feud.
The referee stepped in with Khan still standing but with Brook piling in a barrage of one-sided punches before the rivals embraced – finally, a show of respect amid the animosity that began in 2004.
Brook overcame pre-fight doubts over his condition to make a flying start after being booed into the ring, where he oddly changed his gloves after a backstage dispute which added late drama.
But he staggered Khan twice in the opening round.
Perhaps sensing his own vulnerability, Khan attempted to fire back to the delight of the partisan crowd, but it was Brook who continued with the more accurate work.
Khan withstood late-round barrages from Brook in the third and fourth, while the fact he survived an onslaught in the fifth earned acknowledgement from his opponent at the end of the period.
Khan could not take any more
However, that was the end of his resistance, as Brook landed early in sixth, before patiently continuing his attack until Victor Loughlin decided Khan could not take any more.
Brook, fighting for the first time since a November 2020 defeat to Terence Crawford, had looked in fine condition all week, but some had feared making the 149lbs limit could impact his performance.
However, those doubts were immediately dispelled, and the Sheffield fighter’s performance may give him encouragement to continue his career, as he moved to a 40-3 record, with a 28th knockout to his name.
Khan, who had recruited Crawford’s trainer Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre for the fight, only produced rare flashes of the trademark speed that catapulted him to a 2004 Olympic silver medal and to becoming world champion aged 22 in 2009.
The loss reduces Khan’s record to 34-6, with a fifth knockout defeat of his career, and leaves question marks over whether he will return to the ring.