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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Exclusive: Amir Khan confirms ‘potential fight’ with Kell Brook at Wembley in 2016

Amir Khan, speaking to The National's Omar Al Raisi, says he has had a productive meeting with Kell Brook promoter Eddie Hearn and the parties are working toward a 2016 bout at Wembley.
Amir Khan won his last fight against Chris Algieri at the end of May in New York City. Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Amir Khan won his last fight against Chris Algieri at the end of May in New York City. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

DUBAI // A fight with Manny Pacquiao in Dubai next year appears unlikely, but Amir Khan said negotiations for a Wembley bout with unbeaten Kell Brook are progressing after he and Brook’s representative met recently.

Khan said Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter, travelled to the British-Pakistani fighter’s base in Bolton, England, for a conversation.

“Eddie sent me a text and I invited him to Bolton,” Khan told The National. “We had a meeting at my office and we discussed everything for a potential fight against Kell Brook in 2016.

“I have made it clear to Eddie that I want this fight to be a big fight worldwide, not just in the UK. I told him Kell needs to fight a couple of big names and beat them, obviously. That will make our fight even bigger.

“The fight will be a Khan Promotions and Matchroom Promotions event in the UK, at Wembley Stadium.”

Khan said friction between his camp and Brook’s has been set aside; Khan felt Hearn had been disrespectful in remarks reported in the media.

“Eddie told me that he would be stupid not to support his fighter, so that’s what he was doing, basically, and to a point he is right: it’s all part of the game,” Khan said.

He believes a fight with Brook would be attractive to boxing fans.

“Eddie believes this is a 50-50 fight, most of the fans believe this is a 50-50 fight, and our history together, that’s why this is such a huge fight in the UK.

“Do I think this is a 50-50 fight? Absolutely not, Kell is a very comfortable opponent for me. Styles make fights and his style is perfect for me. I will beat him very easily. He won’t be able to handle my speed, power and footwork.”

Khan, 28, is a former light-welterweight champion and Olympic silver-medallist and has a record of 31-3. Brook, 29, is 35-0 and is recognised as welterweight champion by the IBF.

Khan has met and defeated several prominent opponents, including Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri, and previously he was disinclined to fight Brook because he believes Brook has no significant victories, aside from that over Shawn Porter.

“He refused the fight with Brandon Rios because there was an issue with a rematch clause in the contract,” Khan said. “Why does there need to be a rematch clause? Because he is not confident of beating Rios.

“I have never in my career demanded for a rematch clause. I will fight anyone they put in front of me and that’s what I’ve been doing my entire career.”

He said Bob Arum, Pacquaio’s promoter, approached him about a fight with the Filipino in Dubai next year, after Pacquiao has recovered from surgery to his shoulder following his May 2 defeat by Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“There have been talks of an Amir Khan fight in Dubai for many years now,” Khan said. “Everyone knows my position: I am ready to fight if they are serious about it. Bob Arum has contacted my team to fight Manny Pacquiao around March or April in Dubai. Let’s see how that develops.

“Since Floyd is running scared, I want Pacquiao in 2016 when he is back from his injury; 2016 will be Amir Khan’s year; you will see me in two of the biggest fights in that year.”

However, the Dubai Sports Council has played down the possibility of staging a major fight before 2017.

The council, who would have to be heavily involved in commissioning and promoting the fight, said they had no plans to stage the fight on its 2016 schedule.

“The board of directors at the Dubai Sports Council have not had any such meetings to discuss a Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan fight in Dubai,” a council spokesman said, “and they have not set any budget for this event for 2016.”

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