• Amir Khan v Julio Diaz

Khan praises Diaz 'bottle' for accepting UK fight

ESPN staff
April 25, 2013
Amir Khan is eager to impress against Julio Diaz © PA Photos

Amir Khan has praised Julio Diaz for showing the "bottle" to come and fight him in the United Kingdom, adding that he feels good about the prospect of fighting at 143lbs.

Khan, usually a light-welterweight, meets Diaz in a catchweight fight in Sheffield this weekend - the Bolton fighter's first appearance in Britain for over two years.

And the former 140lb world champion is looking forward to the prospect of fighting in front of his home fans while testing himself at a slightly bigger weight.

"I need to thank Julio Diaz for coming all the way from America," Khan said. "Not many fighters do what I do - I go to their hometown or home country and fight them there, with my world titles.

"But no-one likes to come to me and fight in my home country, so it is great Julio Diaz has shown bottle and come over."

He added: "We are going to be ready and strong at this weight. It is the first time I have been heavier than 140 for a long time but I think it will suit me.

"This fight will straight away elevate us back into world title fights.

"But I am not thinking any further than this fight yet. I just want to get through this one and then we will know exactly where we are."

Diaz has warned Khan he is not in the United Kingdom simply to make up the numbers, however, describing his preparations for their meeting as "perfect".

The former lightweight world champion, who has won 40 of his 48 professional fights, is aware that an eye-catching victory over the former Olympian will put him in the frame for another world title shot.

"Everything is perfect, right on point. I feel good," Diaz warned. "I have to perform and look good and try to put him out.

"This is the key to open the doors. I beat Amir Khan, I get another world-title shot. He is on my way. "I just do my job, put him out, go back home.

"We know what we need to do. He is a great fighter but he makes a lot of mistakes and we are looking to capitalise on any of them."

Khan's meeting with Diaz is the main attraction on what promises to be an entertaining card in Sheffield, with Audley Harrison, Anthony Agogo and Khan's brother Haroon all scheduled to fight.

"I think it is going to be brilliant," Khan said. "Sheffield is a well-known boxing place with a big boxing history.

"It is going to be great for me to put on a big performance in front of my home fans."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.