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Kell Brook to fight for first time since rib injury

Welterweight titlist Kell Brook will make the third defense of his belt when he takes on mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier on March 26 at Sheffield Arena in Brook's hometown of Sheffield, England, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced Wednesday.

The fight was agreed to on Jan. 11 when Hearn and Bizier promoter Yvon Michel made a deal and avoided a purse bid.

The fight will be Brook's first since a rib injury in training camp forced him to withdraw from an Oct. 24 title defense against Argentina's Diego Chaves, which was scheduled to take place at Sheffield Arena.

"I'm delighted to be back fighting at the Sheffield Arena again," said Brook, who has regularly drawn big crowds there. "While I was gutted to miss out on fighting in October, I've fully recovered from the injury and feel stronger than ever. I've been working hard in the gym and working on new things, and I cannot wait to put on another explosive performance for my hometown fans and prove I am the best 147-pound fighter on the planet."

The 29-year-old Brook (35-0, 24 KOs) traveled to the United States and won a majority decision against Shawn Porter in August 2014 to win a 147-pound world title. Brook suffered a serious stab wound during an incident on a family vacation following the victory that forced a defense to be canceled at the end of 2014 and threatened his career. But Brook made a full recovery and has defended the title twice, both times in England, as he scored dominant knockouts of Montreal-based Romanian Jo Jo Dan and England's Frankie Gavin in 2015.

Bizier (25-2, 17 KOs), 31, of Quebec, knocked out Fredrick Lawson in the 10th round on Nov. 7 in Miami, a title elimination fight to become Brook's mandatory challenger.

Bizier has won two fights in a row since losing a split decision in a rematch against Dan in December 2014. Dan also won a split decision against Bizier in November 2013.

"The most important thing was the date. March 26 is perfect for me," Bizier said. "I am already in great physical condition and I will have the perfect preparation in Montreal with my trainer Marc Ramsay. I know I will be the underdog once again, but I guarantee you I will give the fight of my life. I am optimistic and I already fought in England as an amateur. Having the crowd against me does not bother me at all."

Hearn also announced that lightweight Luke Campbell (12-1, 10 KOs), a 2012 British Olympic gold medalist, will fight an opponent to be determined on the card. Campbell will be seeking to rebound from his first defeat, a 12-round split decision loss in an upset to Yvan Mendy on Dec. 12.