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Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Sunday, 22 June 2008 10:55 UK

Waiting game for Khan

Amir Khan
It took Khan five rounds to overcome a spirited challenge from Gomez

By Nabil Hassan
BBC Sport at the National Indoor Arena

Amir Khan is not ready for a world title fight. Of that promoter and boxer are agreed.

After watching his man struggle for five rounds in an awkward encounter before ultimately prevailing in the fifth, promoter Frank Warren declared: "Amir probably needs a couple more fights before he can think of challenging for a world title."

And Khan himself, who despite stopping Michael Gomez in an enthralling encounter at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena, cut a despondent figure in the post fight press conference.

The Bolton fighter probably knew that he had done little to silence the doubters who question his boxing maturity, after 18 professional fights, to challenge for a world title.

The 21-year-old was in agreement with his promoter, admitting he "still wasn't ready" for the world title shot he craves.

Warren himself added: "Amir needs more schooling and we don't want to rush him.

"He is learning all the time and when he challenges for a world title fight we want him to win it and then defend it, and that will take time."

But it is the other questions that surround Khan's future with Warren that are perhaps the most intriguing.

Warren's deal with ITV to screen Khan's fights has now come to an end, and the Sports Network promoter was far from forthcoming in discussing what future lies ahead in terms of broadcasting the Bolton fighter's future bouts.

Amir Khan
It was a tough bout for Khan in Birmingham
He said: "We are not talking about any television, we can't. All will be revealed soon."

Warren also hopes to have Khan fighting again in September but whether he continues to promote the fighter remains to be seen.

The future of Khan's link-up with new trainer Dean Powell is also uncertain.

In fairness, he looked fitter and stronger than in his previous 17 bouts, but any hopes that Powell would eradicate a suspect defence were soon dented when Gomez floored Khan in the second round.

It wasn't a one-off either. Far too often the Bolton fighter was caught by the journeyman and against a better, younger, fitter and stronger fighter, Khan would have been in serious trouble.

Khan declared after the fight that he would "definitely" like to work with Powell again, but whether his team and management see that as the right step remain to be seen.

The Bolton fighter openly admits to having enjoyed his time working in America with trainer Roger Mayweather before Joe Calzaghe's fight with Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas, and Khan added that he would leave it to his family to decide who would be his future trainer.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan
Rumours still circle that he could quit for America.

One thing is for sure. Khan certainly won't be facing the winner of next week's WBC bout between Manny Pacquiao and David Diaz.

Khan had declared himself keen to meet the winner before Saturday's clash with Gomez, but has changed his stance post-fight.

"I'll be watching the fight with interest," he said. "Those are the type of opponents I want in the future - I know I'm within touching distance."

Touching distance is not close enough though, as Khan's dreams of becoming Britain's youngest world champion since Prince Naseem Hamed look to be just that, a dream.

But while so much uncertainty surrounds Khan's future out of the ring, what is certain is his potential class in it.

The speed of his progress may not be what he or many expected, but undoubtedly one day he will be a world champion.

What path Khan takes to reach his ultimate goal though is anyone's guess.

see also
Gomez ready for Khan battle
18 Jun 08 |  Boxing


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