Amir Khan continues his path back to the top of the world light-welterweight division and his next stop on the comeback journey is Sheffield where he will take on former world champion Julio Diaz, in the steel city on April 27.
Khan, 26, is coming into this fight off the back of a win against Carlos Molina last December, prior to that he had suffered back to back losses over to Lamont Peterson and then Danny Garcia surrendering his world title belts. The Bolton man is now more determined than ever to return a better fighter. He left Freddie Roach to join new coach Virgil Hunter after his defeat to Garcia and Khan says he is improving under the man who took super-middleweight king Andre Ward to the top.
Khan return to the UK and Sheffield brings up the question of Kell Brook, the unbeaten Sheffield welterweight who has been touted as a future opponent for the former undisputed light-welterweight champion. Brook has his own big world title fight next month when he faces IBF world welterweight champion Devon Alexander in Atlantic City on May 18.
Khan says the Sheffield connection is purely circumstantial and he is proud to be walking in the footsteps of legend and boyhood hero Prince Naseem Hamed and fighting in a city where he once lived and has an affinity with.
A fight between Khan and Brook is brewing, Khan despite his light-welterweight status is expected to step up in the future and he says that he will welcome a fight with rival Brook when his rival has proved himself at world class. In an exclusive interview with Graham Walker of The Sheffield Star – listen below Khan claims Brook isn’t ready for him yet and if they met now he could ‘ruin his career’.
Khan, 26, speaking from a training camp in San Francisco said; “ They’ve had big fights in Sheffield for years; people like Naseem Hamed. It’s going to be brilliant to fight in a city which is huge in boxing and sport, to be part of that – so one day I can say that I fought in Sheffield and it was a sell out,’’ he told The Star. “I think I’m going to get an amazing reception. Twitter and Facebook are full of it already. I didn’t know what to expect.
“We knew we had a lot of fans there but it’s been amazing to see so many come out and buy tickets. They want to be part of this big boxing night. I offered the fight against the guy who beat Ricky Hatton, Vyacheslav Senchenko, and he refused to take me on.
“But Diaz is a former world champion. He’s got a good knockout percentage, he’s dangerous and hungry.
“I want to put on a great performance and send a statement around the world – that wherever we fight in the UK we will sell it out and put on a great performance. We want fans to walk out of the Arena smiling and happy. I want to entertain the Sheffield crowd.”
And Regarding Brook? “If that fight happens, it would be huge. said Khan. “But I don’t think he is ready for me at the moment. If he fights somebody like me, it could ruin his career, because he’s not fought anyone at that level. Alexander is a good fighter. It could make a match-up between me and Kell if he wins the world title because then there will be something to fight for.”
The Sheffield undercard;
This Golden Boy UK promotion, will also feature the debut of Haroon Khan, Amir’s brother who will take on Bulgarian Stefan Slavchev.
Audley Harrison is in another big heavyweight clash when he goes up against unbeaten American prospect Deontay wilder.
Unbeaten British lightweight prospect Terry Flanagan takes on former world champion Nate Campbell in a step up in class for the Mancunian. plus the pro debut of GB Olympic bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo.
In other News
Oscar De la Hoya is ready to offer Amir Khan an opportunity to fight the winner of a light welterweight unification tournament that Golden Boy Promotions are planning, which will feature boxers; Danny Garcia – Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse and Lamont Peterson, and are ready to pitch Khan in with the eventual winner!
“Golden Boy said they are going to do a mini tournament. It’s going to be, and at the end of the year the winner of that fights me,” said Khan.
“The reason they fight me at the end is because I can’t fight in the middle because I’ve got Ramadan Hopefully, we’ll know by the end of the year who the best 140 pound fighter is and that’s going to be between the five of us.”