British boxing superstar Amir Khan is promising fight fans a night they will never forget as he gets his world-title comeback trail underway in Sheffield, writes Graham Walker.
For the first time in two-years he will fight on UK soil tonight as the main event at the Motorpoint Arena.
The fight will also be televisied live on Box Nation,
The 25-year-old Bolton boxer says he will look like a new man as he takes on Mexican Julio Diaz in a non-title bout.
But Khan, who has attracted the attention of the world’s press in the city, expects to put himself back in the frame for world-title fights with a victory.
That would almost certainly mean returning to the United States to fulfil his ambitions and tonight could be the last time fans get to see him fight in the UK - at least for some time.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch video chat with Amir Khan.
The fighter said: “I want my fans to be there and it is going to be a night they are not going to forget because it could be one of the last times I fight in the UK.
“Straight after this fight we will back into world-title fights and most of them are in America.
“We are going to try to get them to the UK, but it could be one of the last times I fight in the UK.
“Fighters aren’t normally prepared to do what I do - go to their countries - America - and fight them in their home states.”
The Diaz fight has been set at a “catch weight” of 143 pounds - a mark between super lightweight and welterweight.
It will be the heaviest Khan has fought at while California-based Diaz, himself a former world lightweight champion, is coming down slightly after recent welterweight fights.
The fight headlines a packed card that also sees Khan’s 21-year-old brother Haroon, after 66 wins as an amateur, make his professional debut in a four-round super flyweight contest against Bulgaria’s Stefan Slavchev.
Amir Khan has spoken often of his brother’s potential, and his desire to advise him, but when it comes to who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the family, there is no doubt.
Khan said: “I think it is probably my mum! She tells us both off, and she tells it how it is.
“It’ll be a nervy night for mum. She won’t be coming to the fight but she’ll be at the hotel and we’ll see her straight afterwards.”
Anthony Ogogo, who won a bronze at last year’s Olympics, also makes his professional bow in a six-round middleweight fight against Telford’s Kieron Gray.
Veteran heavyweight Audley Harrison, 41, launches his latest attempt to become a world champion when he takes on highly-rated American Deontay Wilder, who has won all 27 of his fights inside the distance.
Harrison was widely written off after suffering his sixth professional loss, to David Price, last year but he remains undeterred.
The Londoner said: “He is a good prospect. He doesn’t know how to lose and he is definitely coming to win.
“There is mutual respect there but on Saturday night we put that to one side and go to war.
“Mentally I’m back, physically I’m back. His record doesn’t faze me.”