Amir Khan’s painful defeat – in all senses – against the unbeaten Terence Crawford has not deterred confidence he “can do it again” and rebound as a world champion.
Khan, 32, witnessed ambitions of claiming the WBO world welterweight belt end in bizarre fashion last month when an accidental low shot to the groin in the sixth round saw him pulled out by his corner. This followed a contest in which the pummelled rank outsider had already been sent to the canvas in the first and received several harsh body blows in the fourth.
The British pugilist was accused of prematurely quitting by several prominent voices, including probable next opponent Kell Brook who was ringside at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden.
But this dispiriting bout has not daunted Khan, who previously recovered from September 2008’s loss to Colombia’s Breidis Prescott to become unified light-welterweight world champion three years later and claimed the vacant WBC Silver interim light-welterweight strap in December 2012 after successive setbacks to Americans Lamont Petersen and Danny Garcia.
“Obviously the last fight was a little bit a difficult, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” said Khan, speaking ahead of Friday’s Knockout Night from Badou Jack Promotions at FIVE Palm Jumeirah Hotel.
“Hit with a low shot, but at the same time I’m not taking anything away from Terence Crawford. He’s up there with one of the best fighters in the world.
“I’m just going to go back to the drawing board. I’m still in the top 10 in the world.
“I want to fight someone in the top 10 for my next fight. Hopefully that will be in October or November time – I’m still active, I still feel strong.
“We’ve got names like Kell Brook there, still the top, top fighters there. I’m in a very lucky position that I have the opportunity to put bums on seats.
“TV networks like to see me fight and getting the top guys in the ring is quite easy. I’m still in a good position of getting the big names in, because we bring a lot of money to the table.
“I’m only 32-years-of-age, although I did say that this is the last chapter of my career. I want to fight maybe one or two more times and then maybe call it a day.
“It just depends what’s out there for me.
“I still have it in me. I still love the sport and I still work hard – I still feel like I’m up there.
“Mentally, I’m quite strong and I know I’ll always come back from defeats. I’ve been knocked out, I’ve come back and become world champion again – I’m sure I can do it again.”
Khan faced a monumental task to stop an elite American competitor currently ranked second by Ring magazine in its pound-for-pound top 10. Memories of his murderous knockout by Mexico superstar Canelo Alvarez in May 2016 are also raw – and harrowing.
These disappointments even led to calls that Khan should immediately call time on an undulating 38-fight, 14-year professional career from which estimated earnings of £30 million have been accumulated.
A love of the sport and dreams of prime time, however, remain undiminished from a boxer who first announced himself to a global audience aged 17 when he won silver at the Athens 2004 Olympics.
He said: “In the fight, I was still there. He [Crawford] was technically a very good fighter and I did find it quite hard to get to him.
“But I still think, maybe not against a Crawford… but I still feel I’m better than the guys like Danny Garcia, Lemont Peterson, Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao.
“Those fights could be big, still.”
Brook’s name was a noticeable omission. Especially as a long-term rivalry between the pair has bubbled under since 2012.
Good luck champ I will be there to support. https://t.co/UvHMK9ghra— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) April 30, 2019
Khan was confident he would end an engaging ‘Battle of Britain’ in “six or seven rounds” should they, belatedly, meet.
“Kell Brook still excites,” he stated. “It’s a fight that’s always there.
“People say it’s a 50/50 fight, but I believe I would take out Kell Brook in six or seven rounds. That’s the fight that would be an easy sell.”
Since Bolton-born Khan’s successful United States debut against Paulie Malignaggi in May 2010, 11 of his 15 bouts have been across the Atlantic Ocean.
His last ‘mega fight’ on home soil was a fifth-round technical decision over bloodied ring legend Marco Antonio Barrera a decade ago at Manchester’s MEN Arena. This is an absence he intends to end this September or October against ex-IBF welterweight holder and Sheffield-native Brook.
Khan said: “I always wanted to do everything I wanted to do away from the UK in America, that’s the Mecca of boxing.
“I’ve done that now, I want to have my next fight in the UK. And if it’s Kell, it’s Kell.”
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