Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
Amir Khan resumes comeback against ‘Kidd’ Diaz
Two years ago it appeared that Amir Khan was one the verge of landing a mega-fight with either Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. Everything changed when Khan suffered a controversial decision loss to Lamont Peterson (2011) and a shocking knockout defeat to Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (2012) in consecutive fights.
Khan, once again on the comeback trail, but with three professional defeats, fired Freddie Roach and hired a new trainer in Virgil Hunter, the godfather of unified WBA/WBC 168-pound champion Andre Ward. Khan (27-3, 19 KOs), looking to improve to 2-0 under Hunter, will fight former world champion Julio ‘Tje Kidd’ Diaz (40-7-1, 29 KOs) on Saturday, April 27, at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England.
“April 27th is going to be a special night,” said Khan. “It’s 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. Julio Diaz is a former World Champion and a very dangerous opponent who is coming off of an impressive performance in his last fight. I know he will be coming with guns blazing and I’m ready for whatever he has to throw at me. With my speed and boxing skills, and his power and experience, it makes for a really exciting matchup. 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, who signed an exclusive television deal to fight on SHOWTIME in the U.S., stopped an outmatched Carlos Molina after 10 one-sided rounds last December. Khan boxed very well from start to finish and appeared to be in great condition. Khan has good skills, but needs to continue to further develop his style as a boxer.
In his loss to Prescott, Khan was attacked from round one. Afterwards, he moved up in weight from 135 to 140 where he became a unified WBA/WBC world champion. He proved great mettle in his dramatic 12-round decision against Marcos Rene Maidana (2010) and Zab Judah (2011) in December 2011. Against Peterson and Garcia, Khan, at one point, was out-classing both fighters. Khan was docked a disputed point in the twelfth round. Khan simply fought to brave of a stand-up fight with Garcia and got caught with a shot that he simply didn’t fully recover from.
It’s apparent that Khan is starting over and that’s ok. Khan is a very entertaining fighter, an accomplished talent, and hopefully with a performance against Diaz, Khan can further the intrigue of his recent comeback. Hopefully in time, with the help of SHOWTIME and Golden Boy Promotions, Khan could land a fight against Floyd Mayweather, who recently signed a six-fight, 30-month deal with the network giant SHOWTIME.
Right now, Khan needs to focus on Diaz, a former 140-pound champion, is an experienced boxer with a good resume.
Fighting professionally since February 1999, Diaz has proven to be a very good technical fighter. He won his first world title, the IBF lightweight championship with a majority decision against Javier Jauregui in 2004. While Diaz has posted some pretty good wins throughout his career, his stamina and chin has been in question for quite some time. Diaz has been stopped in pretty big fights against Jose Luis Castillo and Juan Diaz while they were in their prime.
Diaz (like Khan) is on the comeback trail himself having gone 2-0-1 in his last three fights following a knockout loss to Kendall Holt. In December, Diaz surprised many with his performance against undefeated rising prospect Shawn Porter. Many felt Diaz won that fight.
“I’m not going to England for the fight to go to the scorecards,” Diaz said. “I’m fighting for the knockout. 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.”
Olympic Bronze winner Anthony Ogongo turning pro
In addition to Khan vs. Diaz, Golden Boy Promotions will present the professional debut of 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Anthony Ogongo against an opponent to be named later in the middleweight division.
“I’m proud to be British and so the opportunity to turn pro on such a big fight card in England is a dream comes true,” said Ogongo. “I want to become a world champion and this is the first very important step. I know what I have to do and that is to win and I want to win in style. I can’t wait to show the British public what I can do and will be training as hard as I possibly can between now and April 27th to get myself in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”
Ogongo is a naturally-gifted athlete having played for the Norwich City FC as a soccer player and boxing since he was 12. Ogongo is a Junior Olympic Gold medalist and Silver medal winner in both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. As a member of the British Olympic Boxing Team, Ogongo won a Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.