Khan hopes to 'laugh in Kell Brook's face' by proving he has more fans than his rival does in his home town of Sheffield
00:49 GMT, 6 March 2013
02:11 GMT, 6 March 2013
Amir Khan has revealed he cannot wait to fight in Sheffield – because he wants to ‘laugh in Kell Brook’s face’ about having more fans than Brook does in his home town.
The former world champion is to fight Mexican Julio Diaz in Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena on April 27 at a catchweight of 143lbs, and though he is adamant he will return to 140lbs to avenge defeats against Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, he couldn’t resist a dig at welterweight Brook, his long-time rival.
'We’ll show him how we sell tickets,' said Khan, whose fight against Diaz is his first in the UK for two years.
Last laugh: Amir Khan believes he will sell out the Motorpoint Arena because he has more Sheffield-based fans than Kell Brook
'It’ll show that I probably have more
fans than him in his home town. That’s a laugh in his face, really. But I
don’t think about fighting him yet – he has to prove himself.'
Brook is to fight Devon Alexander for the IBF welterweight title in May and, if victorious, interest in a fight between he and Khan is certain to grow, something the latter says he will welcome once he has achieved his ambitions as a light welterweight and moved up to the 147lb division.
'I have nothing against Kell Brook,' says Khan. 'I don't care about him or think about him. He has to prove himself. At the moment he's not on my radar or anything.
'Spectacular': Julio Diaz was impressed with Khan's performance against Carlos Molina
'If I move up to 147 then definitely I would fight him, but it's six to nine months before I do move up. When I do, I'm not someone who says no and I would take that fight.
'I still want to fight at 140 and win titles at that weight and then move up to 147 as a world champion.
'There are still two fights out there at 140 against Petersen and Garcia – they are fights I want and that are there for me, so I don't see why I should move up.'
Battle of Britain Interest in Kell Brook fighting Amir Khan continues to grow
Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley were among those mentioned as potential opponents for Khan, with Peterson and Vyacheslav Senchenko, who retired Ricky Hatton in November, understood to have rejected official offers to fight him. As a consequence Diaz has been viewed as an underwhelming opponent, but he is one Khan is adamant will not be easy.
'We got the fight I wanted,' he said. 'Not many would take this fight on so I have a lot of respect for Diaz for taking it.
'People will turn us down because they know this is a tough fight, even though last year wasn't our best. We tried with some and it didn't happen, which is why I left England for a training camp without doing any press as I didn't have a secure opponent.'
Back on form: Khan followed two straight losses with a 10th-round stoppage of Molina
For Diaz, the next fight represents the biggest of his career after his last was a draw against Shawn Porter on the undercard of Khan's 10th-round stoppage victory over Carlos Molina, the 2004 Olympian's first with trainer Virgil Hunter, and one in which the Mexican felt Khan simply could not be criticised.
'I have to say he was spectacular,' Diaz said. 'He looked a whole different fighter. Virgil has done a very good job with him, but I have a very good team and, when I get in the ring in Sheffield, it will be a very proud moment.
'Amir has been a superstar since he started and has been treated like one. I’ve struggled to get attention by winning performances and knockouts, but it’s just made me work harder.'
Tickets for Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz can be purchased from www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk or by calling 0114 256 5656.