Amir Khan has taken the first step in attempting to reignite old flames.
The former 140-pound titlist from Bolton, England has expressed renewed interest in an all-British clash with Sheffield’s Kell Brook. Such claims were made in an exclusive interview Khan conducted with the Khaleej Times, revealing his desire to return to the ring in 2021 and for part of that journey dedicated to settling an old score.
“I think with Kell Brook, who has always been running his mouth… I think it is about time now to put him in his place and shut him up for good,” Khan insisted to the Dubai-based publication.
The long-developing grudge match between Khan and Brook was one which appeared to have been left in the rearview mirror at the start of 2020. The pair of Brits have spent years circling one another, with a seemingly clear path finally provided in what was thought to lead to the awaited showdown.
Brook (39-3, 27KOs) was due to headline a December 2018 show in his Sheffield hometown, with the intention of Khan appearing ringside. The idea was for Brook—a former welterweight titlist who was campaigning at junior middleweight at the time—to prevail in his scheduled fight with Michael Zerafa, providing the key step in moving forward with a Khan fight at some point in 2019.
Khan (34-5, 21KOs) ultimately balked at the idea, instead spending his 32nd birthday tending to other matters. In store for the 2004 Olympic Silver medalist and former junior welterweight champ was a showdown with three-division and reigning welterweight titlist Terence Crawford, with their April 2019 clash announced weeks later.
The night would end in despair, as Khan was stopped in the 6th round of their ESPN Pay-Per-View headliner at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Brook would sit out all of 2019, returning to the ring this past February in a 7th round knockout of Michael Zerafa at home in Sheffield. The win positioned the now 34-year old Brit for a then-rumored showdown of his own with Crawford, which was discussed throughout the coronavirus pandemic before finally materializing this past November in Las Vegas.
Crawford overcame an initially competitive challenge from Brook to stop him inside of four rounds.
Meanwhile, Khan has remained involved in the sport though just not as an active boxer. The 34-year old currently serves as president of the World Boxing Council (WBC) Middle East as well as an active ambassador for the sanctioning body’s WBC Cares charity program.
There is still some fight left in the former champ, or so he insists.
“The gloves are still on,” insists Khan, who has not fought since a 4th round knockout of former featherweight titlist Billy Dib last July in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “I’m thinking of fighting probably next year. This year was a bit of a bad year for everybody. And boxing was off. They wanted to fight behind closed doors. I didn’t really feel like I could motivate myself, but hopefully, if it opens up next year, we can make something happen.
“I want to fight again around March or April and there are so many names out there, there are so many deals on the table, in the Middle East as well. So, let’s see how that plays out. I enjoy the sport, still. Honestly, I would be lost without it. I love waking up in the morning, training, running. My life is all about boxing and I’ve never really thought about retiring. It’s hard for me to walk away from it.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox