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Khan out to impress home fans

ESPN staff
February 7, 2011
Amir Khan is looking forward to facing Paul McCloskey © PA Photos

WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan is eagerly anticipating his forthcoming fight with Paul McCloskey - believing it to be a great stepping stone to a summer unification bout.

A deal between the two men for the title fight was agreed only after weeks of negotiations, with the contest at Manchester's MEN Arena set to be Khan's first on home soil since December 2009.

Having travelled to the United States for his last two contests - most recently in a dramatic victory over Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas - Khan believes he is beginning to gain a worldwide audience, one he hopes to impress by defeating the Northern Irishman.

"I've never really met him [McCloskey], he's supposed to be a great fighter," Khan told Sky Sports of his impending opponent. "He's undefeated, a European champion. I'm looking forward to it, it'll be a big fight for me - I'm coming home. It's going to be a great fight.

"People know who Amir Khan is now, they want to see me fight. I promise the fans I'm going to bring a lot of big fights to the UK and this is one of them. People have a lot respect for me worldwide. The future's looking bright."

Khan and his management had been accused of making 'derisory' offers to potential opponents, including McCloskey, as they searched for an opponent for the April 16 clash, but the Bolton man believes it was his opponent who was guilty of mistakes in the negotiating process.

"We'd done the purses and everything, we know McCloskey is not a pay-per-view fighter and he also agrees with that - so the fight was made," he said. "I think there were so many people involved in negotiations, as soon as they cut it down it [the deal] was signed straight away."

Khan attracted headlines a few weeks ago after he parted ways with strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, a split that looks set to get increasingly ugly with claim and counter-claim coming from each party. But Khan maintains he simply chose to go in a different direction with his training.

"There were a few things we were unhappy about," he said. "I had a great time with Alex but I it gives me a chance to change things a bit."

While not wishing to overlook the threat McCloskey poses, Khan reiterated his plans for the future - including a unification bout with Timothy Bradley and then a potential clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"From there I want to unify the division in the summer against Bradley, and after that move up to 147 pounds and fight for a pound-for-pound title," Khan said, when asked about his plans. "There are a lot of great fighters out there - Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley - and I think fighting one of them would make me one of the best fighters in the world. My dream is to be the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world."

On the prospect of a fight with Mayweather, Khan is excited.

"That's a fight that could happen in Wembley Arena. It's a fight people would want to see across the world," he said. "I'm a big fan of Mayweather, but sometimes you have to share the ring with one of your heroes. It would be massive."

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