x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Amir Khan's father says Dubai is in the running to host his next boxing title bout

British fighter Amir Khan, of Pakistan decent, is scheduled to challenge Devon Alexander for the IBF welterweight title on December 7, writes Osman Samiuddin.

British boxer Amir Khan Amir, who is of Pakistani descent, has built an impressive 28-3 record at the light-welterweight level since turning professional in 2005 and his next bout may be held in Dubai. Al Bello / Getty Images
British boxer Amir Khan Amir, who is of Pakistani descent, has built an impressive 28-3 record at the light-welterweight level since turning professional in 2005 and his next bout may be held in Dubai. Al Bello / Getty Images

The likelihood of an Amir Khan title fight being staged in Dubai this December would appear to be high, according to the British fighter's father.

Earlier this month, reports in the British press revealed that Golden Boy Promotions was in talks with authorities in Dubai about the fight, which would be for Devon Alexander's IBF welterweight title.

Sources in the Dubai Sports Council say nobody has been in touch with them about the fight, but Shah Khan – Amir's father –said Dubai was very much in the running.

"It's not a done deal yet," Shah said. "There will obviously be some more meetings that need to be done. I think sometime this week, there will be a few meetings with Golden Boy Promotions in the US that will be trying to finalise it.

"It's possibly, maybe 90 per cent there, but there is still quite a lot of work to be done yet. Obviously, it could also be back in the US, but Dubai and the US I would say are the favourites at this point to host the fight."

Amir, of Pakistani descent, has built an impressive 28-3 record at the light-welterweight level since turning professional in 2005, winning the WBA title at 22. That switch came after an amateur career of equal distinction, which included winning a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2008 when he was 17.

But some of the sheen has been taken off recently by high-profile losses in 2011 and 2012 to Americans Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia.

He has recovered somewhat since then, winning his two subsequent fights. But even during his last win, in Sheffield, he was knocked down once on the way to defeating Julio Diaz by a narrow, but unanimous, points decision.

So high remains his standing, however, that the fight against Alexander is widely being viewed as a stepping stone to what would be undoubtedly the biggest, most lucrative fight of his career: a shot at Floyd Mayweather next year.

"This fight against Alexander is first and the priority of course," Shah said. "Then after that, in the new year, hopefully Amir comes through the Devon Alexander fight perfectly, and then maybe April-May next year could possibly be the Mayweather fight."

The potential date for the Alexander fight has been set for December 7, and with Ramadan beginning next month, Amir will likely start his preparations around the end of August or first week of September. The family has been busy with Amir's wedding recently in New York.

According to Shah, Dubai is an ideal venue for the fight.

"We have quite a bit of family and friends in Dubai and Amir spends a lot of time there. He travels there quite regularly for his holidays. I think it would be great to have it there. He has a big, strong fan base there as well, so in that way I think it would be great to have the fight there."

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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