Khan to fight Diaz at Sheffield in April
LOS ANGELES (AFP) –
Former light-welterweight world champion Amir Khan of Britain will fight in his homeland for the first time in two years when he faces Mexico’s Julio Diaz in April, promoters said Thursday.
“Return of the King” will be staged April 27 in Sheffield between the Bolton fighter and former world champion Diaz on a card that also features the professional debut of London Olympic bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo of Britain.
Khan, 27-3 with 19 knockouts, and Diaz, 40-7 with one draw and 29 knockouts, will meet at a catchweight of 143 pounds in a homecoming bout that Khan hopes will boost his chances of reclaiming his world title.
“It has been two years since I last fought in the United Kingdom and I can’t wait to get in the ring in front of my fans,” Khan said.
“I know he will be coming with guns blazing and I’m ready for whatever he has to throw at me. He may have other ideas but I’m adamant that my return to the British shores is going to be a very successful one.”
Khan lost a controversial decision to Lamont Peterson in December of 2011, but reclaimed the World Boxing Association crown when the American tested positive for a banned substance ahead of a planned rematch last May.
Khan was stopped in the fourth round last July by World Boxing Council champion Danny Garcia to lose his crown but bounced back with a victory last December, stopping American Carlos Molina in the 10th round in Los Angeles.
Diaz, 33, has not fought for a world title since 2007 and comes off a 10-round draw with US unbeaten Shawn Porter on Khan’s December card.
“I’m not going to England for the fight to go to the scorecards. I’m fighting for the knockout,” Diaz said. “I know the knockout is the only thing that will get me the win so I’m training extra hard already in order to get a victory on Khan’s home turf.
“I’m a heavy hitter and he can’t take a punch, so to me, that is the perfect combination.”
Ogogo, set for a four-round middleweight bout, is set to begin his quest for a world title.
“The opportunity to turn pro on such a big fight card in England is a dream come true,” Ogogo said. “I want to become a world champion and this is the first very important step.”