By Sarwar Alam
Amir Khan has admitted that it will be ‘game over’ if he loses to Phil Lo Greco at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, on Saturday (21) night.
The former two-time light-welterweight world champion steps back into the ring for the first time in almost two years. His last bout was a brutal knockout at the hands of Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez.
After years of seeing potential bouts with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao not come to fruition, Khan revealed that it was his ‘desperation’ for a superfight and to see his name up in lights in Las Vegas that saw him jump up two weight classes and take the Canelo fight.
That gamble may not have paid off, but now Khan has a chance to get back in the superfight mix. He knows a win over Lo Greco could setup blockbuster fights with the likes of Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr and the fight that has been talked about for a decade, a clash with fellow Brit Kell Brook.
“Welterweight is where I want to be winning world titles at,” said Khan. “The next two fights are going to be huge marquee names that make me a two-weight world champion. (Promoter) Eddie (Hearn) knows what I want and he’s got the plans down, I know I can win that world title this year but I cannot look past Phil, he’s coming to smash my dreams.
“There’s pressure in every fight and I know that lose and it’s game over for getting those huge fights. I cannot make any mistake.”
Khan may have been away from the ring for some time, but it hasn’t stopped him from making headlines with his personal life and a stint on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here making front page headlines.
At a pre-fight promotional event in January, Lo Greco incensed Khan by referencing to the Bolton fighter’s personal life saying ‘after the Canelo loss you went on a losing streak – family, wife’. Khan reacted furiously, throwing water at his Canadian opponent with security forced to separate the two men.
“He (Lo Greco) is an idiot,” said Khan. “He got personal at the press conference and that’s not right – he’s going to pay for that. Talk about boxing, talk about me getting KO’d or getting beat – but going into my personal life is disrespectful and that’s made me angry. What he’s said in the press conference has only added more fuel to the fire.”
Khan, who will be fighting in the UK for the first time in five years, added: “The fans hate him now and he’s going to be in for a hostile night from the fans in Liverpool. British fans are the best in the world and he should’ve come here wanting to get them on his side, but there’s no chance that will happen.”
Lo Greco will be hoping that Khan, after a decade-long professional career, which has seen him in 35 fights, including bone-crunching battles against the likes of Breidis Prescott, Danny Garcia and Alvarez, is not the same fighter that captivated fans with his lightning speed and quick hands on his way to becoming world champion.
Khan, however, insists he is feeling in great shape, especially after recovering from having surgery on a broken hand which had plagued him for 13 years.
“I’ve felt great in camp and I know that I need to be at my sharpest as I’ve been out for a while and I know that he’s going to think he can take advantage of that and upset the odds – but that’s not happening.”
Watch Amir Khan vs Phil Lo Greco from Liverpool, live on Saturday, April 21, on Sky Sports Main Event & Action, from 7.00pm.
Limited tickets remain on sale priced £40 and £80 via the Echo Arena at www.echoarena.com and on 0344 8000 400.
Face value tickets for April 21 are available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/.