x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Khan out to impress in grudge bout

The WBA light welterweight champion, has promised to beat Malignaggi in style in the early hours of Sunday morning to impress American fans on his US debut.

Amir Khan, the WBA light welterweight champion, has promised to beat Paulie Malignaggi in style in the early hours of Sunday morning and impress American fight fans on his US debut. England's 2004 Olympic silver medallist will take his career up another notch when he makes his first appearance across the Atlantic at the Theatre at New York's Madison Square Garden. Although he is already a world champion at the age of 23, Khan (22-1, 16 KOs) acknowledges that his second title defence is more than just an opportunity to settle a verbal score with Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KOs), who has said: "I don't think I've ever had a dislike for an opponent more than I have for this guy."

It is also the chance for Khan to make a good and potentially lucrative first impression in front of an American television audience. "I know I will win the fight but I don't just want to win, I want to win it in good style," Khan said. "I want to beat him and be smart, be clever, and I want to send a statement out to the States, how good Amir Khan is." Khan almost failed to make it to the US in time for the fight after a delay with his visa application forced him to move his training camp from Los Angeles to Vancouver before his documentation was finally processed.

"I was meant to be there two days at most but it ended up being two weeks," Khan added. "So I had to move all my training camp, my sparring partners, Freddie and Alex Ariza, to Vancouver while I waited to get my visa. Mentally I'm still strong and prepared for this fight and it didn't mess anything up. The training camp still went well." Malignaggi, the former IBF junior welterweight champion, was equally confident. "I believe I'm the faster fighter," he said. "I'm going to enjoy sinking my punches into Khan. "Some fights are just business, but not this one. I'm going to enjoy every punch I land." * PA