Khan relishing trip behind enemy lines to take on Peterson and Washington crowd
Amir Khan is relishing the chance to boost his growing reputation by defending his light-welterweight titles against Lamont Peterson in Washington on Saturday.
The Bolton fighter, 24, defends his IBF and WBA belts as the heavy favourite despite being in hostile territory against local man Peterson at the United States capital”s Convention Center this weekend.
Khan has previous experience of boxing on away turf when he stopped New York native Paulie Malignaggi in 11 rounds at Madison Square Garden last year, and has no qualms about accepting a similar mission for his first fight as a unified champion.
Ready to rumble: Amir Khan fights Lamont Peterson on Saturday
“I”m not really concerned about fighting in his backyard,” said Khan. “It”s just one of those things. I do know that when you”re fighting in your hometown you do train that bit harder, just to prove to your home fans how good you are. When I fought Paulie Malignaggi in New York he must have been doing extra training and if he hadn”t, I might have stopped him earlier than I did.
“When you fight at home with your home support there it makes you go that bit longer and makes you try that little bit harder. I think that”s the way Lamont Peterson is going to be.
“Maybe that will work against him or maybe it works in your favour, I don”t know. But regardless, we have trained for him and we know exactly what to do to beat him.”
Indeed, Khan (26-1, 18KOs) believes taking such an assignment will enhance his reputation.
Master and pupil: Khan has been preparing with his trainer Freddie Roach
“From my point of view, I get even more respect for going to his hometown to fight,” he said. “One thing about me is I don”t mind travelling and going into people”s backyards to fight. I”ve done it a few times before and I”ve recently been fighting alot outside of the UK.
“For me, a boxing ring is a boxing ring, no matter where it is. I”ll perform there the way I have to. If you look at my career I train in America, not the UK, so in a way that helps me to perform well away from my home country.
“So no matter where it is, I”ll perform in that ring.”
Peterson (29-1-1, 15KOs) fell short in his previous world title challenge against Timothy Bradley in 2009 but is eager to capitalise on his chance to win major honours on his own turf.
Home town hero: Khan”s challenger Lamont Peterson (left)
“I won”t keep getting these opportunities,” he admitted. “I really, really feel as though that I have progressed enough to become a star in this sport, to take my place in this sport and throughout my whole career, I”m used to being on top.
“I”m kind of comfortable with what”s going on with this fight because it”s always been this way when I first started boxing.
“Of course, you”re not going to be number one, but you work your way up and eventually you”re number one as an amateur, as a young fighter.
“Then, you struggle a little bit, but I always find my way to the top. I just really, really believe that this is my time as a professional to be on top.”