Amir Khan loves Tinseltown so much that he says he may move there permanently after his boxing career has ended – to become an actor. Khan is spending his third stint at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym in LA, preparing for a WBA light-welterweight title fight against Andreas Kotelnik on June 27 at London’s O2 Arena. And he admits that even though he’s training harder than ever, there’s no escaping the allure of Hollywood. That’s because Roach is good pals with Mickey Rourke after training him for years, and film stars are familiar faces at the Wild Card..
Actor and singer Donnie Wahlberg watched Manny Pacquiao’s preparations for his explosive KO victory over Ricky Hatton.
“I’m here to box and I’ve never been so focussed in my life, but Hollywood is the centre of the film world and you can’t help but get drawn in,” said 22-year-old Khan.
“Every time I go out running I see that big Hollywood sign up in the hills and think ‘I fancy some of that when I’m done with boxing’.
“I’ve always wanted to be an actor later on in life, and being here in Hollywood has given me even more motivation to go and do it.
“After I’m done with boxing, I’m going to treat myself to some acting lessons to help my dream become a reality. I want to become a world champion and an Oscar winner.
“There’s some great acting coaches here in Hollywood and I’m sure it wouldn’t take long before I land a few movie roles.”
However Khan says any acting ambitions will have to play second fiddle to boxing.
“I’m fighting for a world title against Kotelnik, but that’s just the start of my journey, not the end,” he said.
“I want to win world titles at three different weights and become one of the best P4P boxers in the world, and I can’t cut any corners to get there.”
Barker ready to hunt down Macklin
Darren Barker wants to prove beyond doubt that he’s the best Middleweight in Britain by adding Matthew Macklin’s British title to his Commonwealth crown. The undefeated Barnet man was punch perfect in defending his Commonwealth title at the Watford Colosseum last weekend as he scored a one punch stoppage win over Darren McDermott in a fight which doubled as a final eliminator for the British title.
Barker believes his clinical fourth round victory over McDermott sent out a real statement ahead of a major domestic showdown with Macklin. “I think I proved a lot of doubters wrong on Saturday night,” said Barker.
“I know there were some people tipping McDermott to ‘expose’ me but I knew all along that I was on a different level to him and I think I answered a lot of questions with that win. McDermott’s a tough man, he’s a big middleweight, he’s physically strong and has a great chin but I think that final right hand would have put any middleweight in the world over.”
Now Barker has his sights set on Macklin who won the British title in March by stopping Wayne Elcock. “I take my hat off to Macklin, he did well against Elcock and full credit to him but it will be a whole different ball game when he fights me.
“Macklin said that his fight with Elcock was all about levels and I believe our fight will be all about levels as well. I truly believe that I’m World class and in a different league to Macklin. Our records in the amateurs and the pro’s prove that.”
Barker was a Commonwealth Gold medallist in the unpaid ranks and a vastly experienced international competitor. “Macklin says he’s mixed at a higher level but I was in a whole other league as an amateur,” explained the 27-year-old. “I’m the better boxer, I’m much bigger at the weight and I proved on Saturday night that I have the power to take people out with one punch.”
The Chelsea fanatic went on to say, “Ultimately I believe I’m a premier league fighter and I don’t think Macklin can say that.”
While Barker wants a showdown with Macklin as soon as possible he’s concerned that the fight may not happen. “I just hope that we can get the fight on now. You get people saying that we should wait another 12 or 18 months and build it into a bigger fight but what’s the point in waiting. That’s why most of the fights that people want to see in boxing never end up happening. It’s a massive clash as it is, a British and Commonwealth title fight with both belts on the line so hopefully the Board will force the fight and we can get it on around September or October.”
With plans already in place to establish domestic superiority before the end of 2009 Barker hopes to move on to the World stage next year. “You never want to look too far ahead but I believe the middleweight division at world level is going to be wide open in the next 12 months or so and I believe I’ll be peaking at just the right time to take advantage of that.
“Boxing is my life and I’ve dedicated myself to it and I truly believe I can compete at the very highest level in the sport. I’ve watched Carl Froch go to the U.S. and beat the likes of Jermain Taylor and they are the kind of occasions I aspire to and hopefully nights like those are not too far away for me either.”
DAZZLER NOT THINKING OF DEGALE
DARREN SUTHERLAND refused to become obsessed with James DeGale despite the Londoner’s Olympic success against the Dubliner.
Beijing bronze medallist, Sutherland (2-0) bids to better DeGale at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Stoke-on-Trent on Friday when he faces Vepkhia Tchilaia in a super-middleweight six rounder.
The Georgian (9-9) took DeGale the distance in February and Sutherland said: “I’m trying not to get too involved in a rivalry with James.”
Sutherland who beat DeGale four times as an amateur added: “If James and I meet in the future I will treat him like any other opponent. Although I would like to do a better job on Tchilaia.”
Promoter Frank Maloney said: “We’re not obsessed with James DeGale. If the fight happens, then great. But if not, I won’t care.”
Top of the talent crammed card is local hero Chris Edwards (12-13-3) who defends his British and Commonwealth flyweight title against Derby’s Usman Ahmed (5-1-1)
In the chief support Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes (11-0) meets Manchester’s Anthony Crolla (13-1) in an eliminator for the British super-featherweight title held by Kevin Mitchell.
Also on the top class bill, is the world’s tiniest fighter Liverpool’s, Paul Lowe who is just 4ft 8in tall. He faces fellow debutant Kyle Anthony King
Tickets (£35 and £75) for the show are available from www.frankmaloney.com and 0871 226 1508.