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Boxing: Khan thinking big despite defeats

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Amir Khan has not been dissuaded from thinking big by two defeats in his last three fights and claims victory on Saturday will give him the opportunity to become undisputed world light-welterweight champion later this year.

The 26-year-old must first come through a catchweight (143 pounds) 12-round non-title contest with Mexican Julio Diaz at the Motorpoint Arena in his home city of heffield, northern England, in his first fight back in Britain for two years.

Victory over Diaz, a former world lightweight champion, will keep Khan on course for a possible rematch with either Lamont Peterson or Danny Garcia. Defeat to the 33-year-old Diaz will finish Khan's career at the elite level.

Khan, who is due to get married in New York next month, is desperate to avenge both defeats to Peterson -- to whom he lost controversially on points in December 2011 and the American subsequently tested positive for a banned substance -- as well as Garcia, who stopped the Briton in four rounds last July.

Both Peterson, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion, and Garcia, holder of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) titles, have defences to make before Khan can start plotting revenge.

Garcia takes on fellow American Zab Judah later on Saturday night while Argentina's Lucas Matthysse is set to challenge Peterson on May 18.

Khan claims he has been told by his promoter Golden Boy that the winners of Garcia-Judah and Peterson-Matthysse will then face each other and the victor of that world title unification fight will box him later in 2013.

"I need to keep winning and work my way back to the world titles," Khan told AFP. "I'm determined to win them again.

"I'm staying at light-welterweight because I want to fight Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia again -- I have unfinished business with them and want to avenge my losses.

"This fight will take me to a world title shot, hopefully in my next bout.

"Julio has a good KO ratio, I have a lot of respect for accepting this challenge. Diaz is an experienced fighter and they are the difficult ones to beat.

While Khan sees his future at the 10 stone (63.5-kilogram) light-welterweight division, he was surprisingly elevated to number two in the WBC welterweight rankings recently.

Defeats dashed Khan's hopes of facing boxing's pound-for-pound number one Floyd Mayweather Jr, the American, who holds the WBC welterweight title.

But Khan has not given up on a future fight with Mayweather.

"But I have to take care of the light-welterweight division first. I want to clean it up and get revenge on either Garcia or Peterson later this year," he added.

"I will fight twice this year because (the Muslim holy month of)Ramadan is in the middle of the year. Then I will move up to a super fight at 147 pounds (welterweight) next year.

"Mayweather is still possible. Not many people are in the same league as fighting him but as long as I don't make many any more mistakes, then why not?"

Diaz is the second fight for Khan since suffering a third professional defeat to Garcia in July last year.

Khan's dominant win over Carlos Molina in December was his first training with coach Virgil Hunter in San Fransisco, California.

He said Hunter helped him to work on his defence, making him a more complete fighter.

Khan's younger brother Haroon, who won bronze for Pakistan at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, faces fellow Englishman Brett Fidoe over four rounds in his professional debut as a super-flyweight.

Haroon, 21, has been distracted in his preparations by a court appearance and fine for speeding earlier this month.

Also on the same bill, unbeaten US heavyweight Deontay Wilder, 27, will be looking for his 28th stoppage victim in his 28th fight against Britain's Audley Harrison, a former world title challenger and 2000 Olympic gold medallist.

Harrison, 41, was stopped in three rounds by fellow Briton David Haye for the WBA heavyweight title in 2010 before being wiped out in just 82 seconds by David Price for the British title last year.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130425/boxing-khan-thinking-big-despite-defeats