It’ll be a Right Royal Rumble when Walkley’s former Thai-boxing world champion Imran Khan makes his professional boxing debut on Saturday night at Don Valley Stadium.
Khan, aged 30, is on a strong card including Reagan Denton, Nicki Smedley and Kyle Whitham.
But it is the debut of Khan, which is likely to attract most attention after a stellar Thai career, which saw him claim a version of the world title in 2006 and 2007.
Now fully committed to the noble art he admits he can’t wait to step inside the ring to take on the city’s Dale Hutchinson. He said:
“I’ve always loved boxing and everything about it. I’ve followed it since I was little watching all the fights I could and reading everything about the great boxers.
“Training has been going well with Glyn Rhodes and Reagan Denton so I just want it to happen now.”
The switch from the Muay-Thai to the traditional boxing code has provided its own set of challenges for Khan. He said:
“Boxing is a lot more tactical with more emphasis put on defence - Thai is a lot more aggressive. I’m getting used to the footwork part of it and not going on an all-out attack straightaway.”
Khan, who fought in the 66kg category as a Thai-boxer, will take on the 21-year-old welterweight Hutchinson just yards from his day-job at Hillbrook Motors in Attercliffe. He joked combining the two would make for an interesting start to his pro-career.
He said: “I’ll spend the day washing some cars then run across the road to fight. No, I think I’ll have the day off so I’m ready; it’s going to be a big night.”