Amir Khan - "The Jigsaw's Coming Together"

by James Slater - 22-year-old Amir Khan is feeling on top of the world right now, after his career-best win over the great (if faded) Marco Antonio Barrera. So much confidence has the 5th round TD win given the lightweight star, Khan is now convinced the KO loss he suffered against Breidis Prescott last year was nothing but a blip on his way towards becoming a world champion..

Khan says he has developed into a totally different fighter under the tutelage of new coach Freddie Roach, and that his win over Barrera was just the first piece in the jigsaw that will see him crowned a world champion.

Naturally still buzzing after winning his big gamble of a fight on Saturday night, Khan, now 20-1(16) spoke to Sky Sports News about the fight and his immediate future.

"I felt in full control, strong, catching him with good shots and I could see him getting weaker and weaker," Khan said of the Barrera clash. "If it had gone on another two or three rounds I think I would've knocked him out. It has to be the highlight of my career, the way I defeated a legend like I did.

"It's going to take me on to the next level, and get me known all around the world and get me bigger fights."

Khan gave credit to Roach, saying the work he has had at his Wild Card gym has made him so much better as a fighter.

"I spent seven weeks in Hollywood for this fight with Freddie, doing technique work, watching videos of Barrera, working hard and mentally preparing myself," Khan said. "This is the second camp I've spent there now and I think it's changed me as a fighter. My hands are up tight, I'm fighting better, more patient, and I feel more comfortable in the ring.

"The jigsaw's coming together. My body has totally changed - my legs have thickened and I've got a lot of strength in the legs now."

Now having won two fights since the Prescott disaster, Khan wants a world title shot. Two of the major belts at 135-pounds are currently vacant, so Khan could find himself getting a crack at a title as soon as this year. Khan says 2009 will be his big year, also adding that he'd like a rematch with Prescott as well.

"This year's my big year, at the beginning I said it's going to be a massive year," Khan said. I'm going to have some big fights and fighting Barrera is a good start. Hopefully I can fight in the United States. There are a few names on the shortlist and I'd love to fight Prescott again.

"I know I made a mistake in the Prescott fight and he made me pay, but so much has happened since then. If I fight him again I know I won't make the same mistake again."

So far, no future opponents have been named for Khan. However, his promoter Frank Warren, in speaking to The Edinburgh News, had the following to say:

"The shame of it all is Nate Campbell did not make the weight because that was what we were looking at, but Campbell lost his title and that killed it," Warren said. "I think Nate Campbell would have been a great fight for Amir, I think he would have beaten him and he would have had three belts then.

"But that's gone out of the window and we're back to the drawing board. We'll see what's out there."

The question is, have Khan and his promoter got a touch bigheaded after the win over Barrera, or are they entitled to feel so cocksure now? We won't know until Khan gets in the ring with a top lightweight, but for the time being at least the Amir Khan bandwagon is back rolling at full speed.

Article posted on 16.03.2009

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