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Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Sunday, 15 March 2009

Khan set for title fight in 2009

By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport in Manchester

Amir Khan (right)
Khan (right) has now won 20 of his 21 fights since turning professional

Bolton lightweight Amir Khan is likely to return to the ring in June and then fight for a world title later in 2009, according to promoter Frank Warren.

Khan beat Marco Antonio Barrera via a fifth-round technical stoppage on Saturday at Manchester's MEN Arena.

"He'll fight again in June and hopefully as a team we can progress and get him a world title," Warren said.

"I would like to see that by the end of the year that he has got a belt round his waist."

Warren, who indicated Khan might have two fights prior to a world title shot and could fight in America for the foreseeable future, was quick to praise the work of trainer Freddie Roach.

"I don't think you can fault Khan's performance," he said.

"He's only been with Freddie for 12 weeks and two fights and Freddie's only been in his corner once. What's going to be happening after a few years together?

"He's had to live differently, the boring life, but if you want to beat the best you need to make sacrifices.

"That is a scalp to have on his belt - a three-weight world champion and a future Hall of Famer. One thing's for sure, it will make people sit up and take notice in America."

Khan, who hired Roach after last September's knockout defeat by Breidis Prescott, added: "Freddie is the man who can take me all the way. He makes champions and hopefully I'm his next.

"I thought I had everything, but as soon as I got with Freddie I realised I was making a lot of mistakes."

Barrera, 35, suffered a cut to the forehead in the first round of the fight at the MEN Arena and fought virtually with one eye until referee Dave Parris called a halt to proceedings after taking advice from the ringside doctor.

However, Khan was well on top at the time and afterwards declared that he had found the former three-weight world champion an "easy" opponent.

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Khan said: "It seemed like I didn't really get out of second gear. I used my brains and boxed him, it seemed so easy. I took him apart, made him look ordinary.

"He was tired and frustrated, you could see it in his face. He didn't want to be in there after three or four rounds. I hurt him a couple of times and won every round.

"If he had stayed in the fight another two or three rounds he would have got knocked out, brutally."

Khan added that he hoped the win would silence his critics, many of whom questioned his future in the sport following the Prescott defeat.

"It was make or break, if I had lost you could have forgotten about Amir Khan," he added.

"I proved to a lot of people how good I am and I'm sure people will forget about that now and I can get on with my career."

Freddie Roach and Amir Khan
Roach (left) also trains Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao

Roach, who trains Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao, described Khan's victory as the "first step on the road to greatness".

"He didn't lose control and used his head," said the American. "Lateral movement, in and out, using his jab - he's got the best in the business.

"He made a few mistakes in there, dropping his hands a couple of time, so we're not perfect yet. But he's my next superstar."



see also
Bloodied Barrera beaten by Khan
15 Mar 09 |  Boxing
Khan v Barrera as it happened
14 Mar 09 |  Boxing
Can Barrera turn back time?
16 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Khan knocked out in first round
06 Sep 08 |  Boxing


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