Amir Khan has vowed he will never lose another professional boxing bout again as he prepares for his first fight in the UK for two years against American Julio Diaz next month in Sheffield.
The former world light-welterweight champion and Olympic silver medallist has lost his last two fights – to Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson – and understands that his career, boasting 27 wins and now three defeats, cannot afford any more setbacks.
“It’s a fight I clearly need to win,” the 26-year-old year-old from Bolton admitted speaking from his training camp in Oakland, California.
“If I do it will take me back to challenging for the world titles I once held. You can say it’s make or break time for me. It’s the first time I’ll be fighting in front of home fans for two years and I can’t lose in front of them.
“In fact, after the Garcia defeat I’ve vowed never to lose another fight again. This time I won’t cheat myself in training like maybe I have in the past. In fact, I started training for this fight even before the fight was on and the official training camp began. That’s how motivated I am.”
There has been some question marks over how big a challenge Garcia, 33, will present, even though he is a former IBK world lightweight champion who has not boxed for a year. Garcia insists he could end Khan’s career.
“We’re both under the same pressure,” Garcia said. “A loss for Amir would be devastating. My plan is to capture one more world title and he’s in my way of this. I’m training to knock him out and to hurt him because I don’t want to leave it to the public and the judges in the UK.”
Khan is also expecting fireworks in the ring, even if this is a 12 round, non-title fight at a catchweight of 143 lbs that sees him moving up from 140 and Garcia down from 147. “It’s a fight between two guys who can both punch,” he explained. “He’s a former world champion who is very motivated and confident enough to take on this fight against me in front of my home fans. I respect him for that.”
Khan also dispelled any notion that he is likely to fight either Kell Brook or Ricky Burns in the near future, although his personal views on the two British fighters contrast.
“Tickets are selling out for my fight really fast in Sheffield which is Kell Brook’s home town,” he said. “I went to Sheffield a couple of months ago and got mobbed in the streets. I can’t imagine it’s the same for him. I have to get past Julio Diaz forst and if or when I do then I’m focussing on fighting Garcia and Peterson again, not him.
“I’m a big fan of Ricky Burns and think he’s a great fighter but after my next two or three fights I’ll be moving up to 147 pounds and that means we’ll probably miss each other in he rign because of our different weights.”