London’s Covent Garden is crammed full of eager fans who have flocked to see Kell Brook and Gennady Golovkin in one of their final workouts before their showpiece showdown at the O2 Arena on Saturday.
The gladiators have a formidable combined record of 71-0 with 57 wins by knockout between them – 32 of these coming from undisputed middleweight champion Golovkin.
The purity of Golovkin’s white training shirt belies his intentions as he pummels the training pads with a similar strength to that used to dispose of American Dominic Wade in the second round of his most recent bout on 23 April.
Such power has guided Kazakh Thunder to a remarkable 22 consecutive knockout streak with 16 title defences.
Saturday night in south-east London will be the 34-year-old’s first appearance in a UK boxing ring. Triple G isn’t weighed down by the mass of his four middleweight titles as he bobs and moves easily around the ring.
His fists clash with the pads so hard, the assorted crowd mistakenly believe that his hands are made of metal.
Kell Brook steps in about 20 minutes later. Special K gets to work.
The 30-year-old says he feels ‘new and improved’ ahead of Saturday’s clash, and looks as good as his word with this display. Jumping up two weight divisions, the IBF welterweight champion carries the added load well – dodging, ducking and weaving with almost balletic ease and grace as he glides around the open-air ring.
He looks sharp as he skilfully shadowboxes, fast footwork combining easily with quick, air-cutting punches. He’s up for the challenge.
Dripping with sweat, he leaps onto the corner post of the ring roaring into the humid London afternoon and pounding his chest.
The crowd replies with whistles, applause and chants of, ‘And the new,’ back to Brook. The whole world will be watching to see if he can – in his own words – shock the world.