Amir Khan is looking forward to riding the wave of interest in British boxing generated by the likes of world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua when he fights in the UK for the first time in five years.
Khan faces Phil Lo Greco of Canada in Liverpool on Saturday 23 months after he was beaten by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas, having stepped up two divisions to middleweight, and five years since he last fought on home soil against Julio Diaz in Sheffield.
London 2012 Olympic champion Joshua had yet to start his professional career then but Khan, who has put aside differences with the heavyweight’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, to sign a three-fight deal has been impressed by what he’s seen.
“You look at these great fighters like Joshua cleaning up, doing really well, knocking guys out, selling out stadiums and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is where I want to be again’,” Khan told a press conference on Thursday.
“I’ve done it in the past and I want to do it again. I know I’ve got a style where the crowd will come and watch me and want to see me.”
The 31-year-old added: “Fighters like Joshua out there give you that inspiration to come out and do well and sell out stadiums again.
“British boxing was really dying and Eddie’s brought it back alive again. I remember the days when I used to fight in America all the time because in Britain, boxing wasn’t as big as what we wanted it to be.”
Meanwhile Lo Greco insisted the 2004 Olympic silver medallist’s best days are behind.
“I was a fan, I think you’ve done great,” Lo Greco told Khan at the press conference. I’ve studied your boxing. I honestly believe your best years are done, I think your best years were in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and it’s going to show on Saturday night.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn hopes to be able to make a deal for a unification fight between heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder when he is in New York next week.
Hearn is waiting to hear back from WBC champion Wilder over a showdown with British fighter Joshua, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
It is hoped, though, a deal – with a reported fee of some 12.5million US dollars (£8.8million) said to be on the table – can be thrashed out to get both heavyweights into the ring sooner rather than later.
“We made an offer last week. We haven’t heard from them yet. There’s been a bit of talking behind the scenes,” Hearn said on Sky Sports News.
“We are in New York next week for the Danny Jacobs fight and Katie Taylor unification. I’m going to look to meet up with them in New York, get face to face with them, look into the whites of their eyes, and just see if we can make a deal.
“We have made an offer that we feel is substantial, if not we’re happy to talk about the numbers and look at their ideas as well.”
Joshua has been told by the WBA he must put his ‘super’ belt on the line against contender Alexander Povetkin. Hearn admitted that situation had made on-going negotiations with the American’s camp more complicated.
“Anthony’s made it clear – that’s the fight he wants next, the Deontay Wilder fight,” Hearn added.
“With these mandatories coming up as well, Povetkin, and the possible IBF mandatory, I’ve said before there’s not many opportunities to make an undisputed fight. Really the focus is for us to make the Deontay Wilder fight next.
“If not, it has to be the one after, and we’ll have to deal with a mandatory in the meantime. It could be Alexander Povetkin.
“Generally from AJ’s side, from our side, from the team’s side, the Wilder fight is one we have no problems with at all.
“We’ve just got to find the right deal and we’ll be trying to do that next week in New York.”
The veteran US ring guru Roach said last week that his 15-year association with Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, had been terminated ahead of the Matthysse bout in Malaysia.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t hurt that he didn’t contact me personally about his decision, but the great times we enjoyed together far outweigh that,” Roach said in a brief statement on Friday.
But Pacquiao went on social media on Monday to say that he would make a decision later this week on his corner team for the Kuala Lumpur fight with the Argentine World Boxing Association welterweight champion.
“Contrary to statements which I personally did not make that are circulating in the media, I have not made my final decision who will be my head trainer for my July 14 (US time zone) fight with Matthysse,” he said.
Pacquiao – who has a record of 59 wins with 38 KOs, seven losses and two draws – told millions of followers on his official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts that his adviser Mike Koncz “has been in contact with Freddie (Roach)’s people to keep them informed”.
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) April 15, 2018
“I will make a final decision within the week. When that decision is made, Freddie will be the first one to be informed and then I will advise the media,” the 39-year-old added.
Roach was ever-present in Pacquiao’s corner during his rise to the pinnacle of the sport, helping mould the fighter into one of the best boxers in history.
Pacquiao has not fought since being defeated on points by Australia’s Jeff Horn in Brisbane last July, a loss that cost the Filipino star his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown.
Matthysse, who has 39 wins including 36 KOs against four defeats, won the vacant WBA belt after beating Thailand’s Teerachai Sithmorseng in January.