Dubai: British boxing star Amir Khan returns to the Arena Birmingham for the first time since 2008 where he takes on Colombian sensation Samuel Vargas in crucial welterweight title unification fight on Saturday, (10pm UAE time).
Khan believes that a decisive victory over Vargas, who has been on a five-fight unbeaten run since November 2016, will catapult him into the welterweight division’s top order and earn him a mega fight against either Manny Pacquiao or Kell Brook.
Bolton-born Khan, whose family roots can be traced back to Rawalpindi, Pakistan, showed why he deserves more respect in the ring with 40-second demolition of Italian Phil Lo Greco in his first fight for two years, earlier this year.
The blistering performance has refuelled his desire to win a major fight which he hopes will materialise should he master Vargas before a sell-out crowd at the Arena, one of Britain’s largest entertainment venues that earlier this year hosted the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
“One of my aims this year was to be as active as possible, so I’m very happy to get back in the ring again so soon against Samuel Vargas,” Khan said recently. “He is a tough and well-schooled fighter who has shared the ring with some top welterweights.
“I have to get past Vargas before looking at the biggest challenges going forward. I’m not going to be taking Vargas lightly because I know he will be coming with everything on September 8.
“I hope to give the fans in Birmingham the same excitement and fireworks as my last fight. It will not be one to miss!” he added.
However, Vargas, says he has prepared well for the fight and vows to beat the “old man”.
“I am excited to step in the ring with Amir Khan. I have been granted more than enough time to properly prepare for Amir and you will see the best Samuel Vargas to date,” he bragged.
“Mark my words, we might both be from the same city and country, but I am nothing like Phil Lo Greco. That’s a guarantee.
“I’m going to give Amir hell. He’s an old man.
“He’s been hurt before and he’s been stopped many times. I just have to land one punch on his chin, left or right hand. His feet will go all over the place and if he’s still there I’ll hit him again and again.”
Vargas has previously fought the likes of Danny Garcia and Errol Spence, although he finished on the losing side on both occasion. But he will have learnt a lot from such accomplished fighters which can bode well for his scheduled 12-round “war” with Khan.
He is the huge underdog at 10/1 to Khan’s 1/33, but insists that he is even more hungry to make people sit up and take notice of his skills by upsetting the Briton.
He has a record of 29 wins, 3 defeats and 2 draws, and is ranked world 10th by the WBA at welterweight. Khan is ranked 7th.
At A Glance
Welterweight Title fight (147lbs) 12 rounds
Amir Khan (Britain) 36-32-4 vs Samuel Vargas (Colombia) 34-29-3
Saturday, September 8
When & where:
Birmingham Arena, Birmingham, UK.