Matthew Hurley: Streaking British lightweight contender Amir Khan, 16-0 with 12 KOs will face Martin Kristjansen, 19-1-3 with 5 KOs on April 5th at the Bolton Arena in Lancashire in what is scheduled as a World Boxing Organization title eliminator. The twenty-one year old Khan was scheduled to face off against Kristjansen back in February before the Danish fighter fell ill with flu-like symptoms. Khan instead fought Gairy St. Clair in defense of his Commonwealth title, winning by a twelve round unanimous decision..
At a news conference Khan’s promoter Frank Warren said, “It has put Amir in the frame (of mind) to fight for a world title, hopefully this year.”
In regards to Khan’s performance against the wily veteran St. Clair, Warren told television interviewer Connie Henry, “I thought he boxed very well. The scoring was a bit misleading. Amir won all twelve rounds but St. Clair was there all the time. Amir’s speed and work rate was very good; he’s obviously getting much stronger. It was a good, tough test for him.”
As for Kristjansen, Warren, as he usually does when promoting his fighter attempted to present the opponent as a world beater, while his focus remains on a late 2008 title shot.
“Kristjansen is strong and quite experienced. For Amir to beat him (it) will put him over in the ratings. Then it makes it easier for me when it comes to making a title fight because we’ve moved him up in the rankings. He’s beating world ranked fighters so the title shot will come.”
Khan, for his part, looks upon the St. Clair fight as the performance that proved his ability and worthiness for an eventual title shot.
“It did a lot for me,” he said. “It showed that I can go twelve rounds. I thought it would be a lot harder than it was but the more time and effort you put in the gym, it pays off in the fight. I learned more off that fight than my last five fights. I trusted my fitness and confidence. I found I could fight back (strong) in the later rounds.”
As for what’s next, Khan is also looking ahead to a world title shot.
“I’d like to fight for the European (belt) and then for the world title. This is my year though. Eventually I want to win as many titles in different categories as I can. I will eventually be up there with Juan Diaz and Katsidis and I want to fight them as well.”
As far as lightweight champion Diaz is concerned Khan acknowledges that the ‘Baby Bull’ is the fighter to beat at lightweight but he believes he has the tools to do it.
“Juan Diaz is peaking. I would give him the hardest fight in the world. Everybody has their weaknesses and my hand speed and power, having them two together along with my footwork will cause problems for any fighter in the world.”