Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Amir Khan hopes to face Manny Pacquiao 'at the end of the year' after delivering knockout display in Saudi Arabia

British boxer, who helped set up event at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City, defeated Billy Dib in four rounds in their WBC International title bout

Amir Khan moved into the top five of the WBC rankings after registering a fourt-round stoppage of Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia on Friday. PA
Amir Khan moved into the top five of the WBC rankings after registering a fourt-round stoppage of Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia on Friday. PA

Amir Khan registered an emphatic victory against Billy Dib in the headline bout at the inaugural Fight Night in Jeddah on Friday, and said he hopes to return to Saudi Arabia before the end of the year to fight Manny Pacquiao.

The British boxer, returning to the ring only 10 weeks after his controversial loss in the WBO Welterweight title clash with Terence Crawford, stopped the Australian in the fourth round at King Abdullah Sports City to claim the WBC International Welterweight title. Khan had earlier knocked down his opponent in the second.

With the win, Khan, a former unified light-welterweight world champion, earns a top-five ranking with the WBC, which in theory could set up another shot at a world title.

"I felt very comfortable in there, I was seeing everything, I was making sure I was picking the right shots," Khan said. "It was a quick turnaround after the Crawford fight. Whenever I fight I always make it exciting, I always make it very interesting. I want to thank all the fans in Saudi Arabia for coming to the fight and Inshallah we'll be back soon."

Khan was heavy favourite to win the battle of the former two-time world champions, especially since Dib was coming up in weight to face him. IBF Featherweight champion between 2011 and 2013, Dib was drafted into the bout two weeks beforehand, after Khan’s original opponent, Indian Neeraj Goyat, had to withdraw following injuries sustained during a car accident.

Khan’s superior speed and power was therefore always going to trouble Dib, with the first knockdown arriving at the beginning of the second round via a fine left hook. The finishing blow came in the fourth round, when a Khan flurry floored Dib, whose corner threw in the towel before the count had finished.

In an interview with The National last week, Khan said he hoped an impressive display against Dib would open the possibility of another major contest in the near future, with Filipino superstar Pacquiao the prime target.

Following the win over Dib, the Briton said he hopes to return to the Kingdom to face Pacquiao, boxing's only eight-weight world champion and a former sparring partner, before the end of the year.

“Look, we want the Manny Pacquiao fight, let’s hope he comes to Saudi Arabia," Khan said.

“Hopefully we come back again at the end of the year and bring Manny Pacquiao here.”

Pacquiao has an upcoming assignment on July 20 when he faces unbeaten American Keith Thurman in their WBA welterweight unification bout in Las Vegas.

Earlier in the night, Michell Banquet defeated Prince Patel on points to claim the IBO Bantamweight belt, while Hughie Fury saw off Samuel Peter after the latter retired injured in the seventh round of a contentious heavyweight contest.

Fight Night, part of the Jeddah Season Festival, represents the second high-profile professional boxing event staged in the Kingdom. Last September, the same venue hosted the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) final, in which Englishman Callum Smith defeated compatriot George Groves to seal the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Fight Night was organised by Khan’s Super Boxing League in conjunction with the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia.

Updated: July 13, 2019 12:26 PM

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