Amir Khan has targeted Argentina's Marcos Maidana as the next challenge in his quest to unify the light-welterweight division after an impressive WBA super lightweight title defence against Paulie Malignaggi early yesterday morning. Khan, quick, slick and strong, made a big statement on his American debut as he stopped Malignaggi, a New Yorker, in the 11th round of their bout at Madison Square Garden's Theatre. Britain's 2004 Olympic silver medallist was in clinical form. He became just the second fighter, after England's Ricky Hatton, to stop the former IBF 140-pound world champion from Brooklyn. In doing so, he bettered his professional record to 23-1 on his first live American television appearance. Steve Smoger, the referee, stepped in to stop the fight with one minute and 35 seconds remaining in the 11th round after the boxer from Bolton had dismantled the 29-year-old Malignaggi.
Khan then turned his attention on becoming undisputed 140-pound champion. "I've sent a statement to the world now by finishing this guy off," Khan said, "and with my speed I think I could catch any fighter. "There are bigger fights than Paulie Malignaggi and I'm ready for all the big names. "A lot of people think I was avoiding Maidana, but Malignaggi was a bigger fight for me in my first (US) fight. "Now, if the bigger fighters want to fight me, line up." He said he would like to see Devon Alexander, the WBC and IBF belt-holder and Timothy Bradley, the WBO champion, square off and he would fight the winner. "I'd love to do that, just to prove that I'm the best in the division. "I've got the talents to do that. I'm not being big-headed, but I'm a better fighter than those guys." Frank Warren, the promoter, said that Khan's reputation in the US has been enhanced following the victory. "I always felt Amir's speed and footwork would get him through for a comprehensive win," Warren told BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme. "It was a perfect opponent for him. Obviously it is going to enhance his status" in the US.
Warren said he could see Khan stepping up a weight, and also a fight against Floyd Mayweather. "Whether he would beat Mayweather is another thing altogether," he said. Meanwhile, Warren has urged Danny Williams to honour his retirement pledge after being relieved of his British heavyweight title belt by Derek Chisora. Williams had declared his appearance at Upton Park would be his last but there was no fairy-tale ending for the 51-fight veteran from London who beat Mike Tyson in 2004. Instead, the 36-year-old, who now plans to become a celebrity bodyguard, offered token resistance before the fight was stopped 1min, 41secs into the second round. "Danny's been a great warrior over the years," Warren said. "I hope he now retires and if he doesn't I hope the British Boxing Board of Control stop him from fighting."