Amir Khan says he will discuss with his family whether to hang up his gloves after losing to bitter rival Kell Brook at Manchester’s AO Arena on Saturday.
Khan's first fight in two-and-a-half years saw him saved by the referee after suffering a barrage of punches in round six as Brook channelled years of frustration into one of the most polished performances of his career in this 149lb catchweight bout.
Khan has had a storied career and will go down as one of Britain’s finest fighters, having followed up his 2004 Olympic silver by unifying the light-welterweight division and taking on the world’s best on the grandest stages.
Brook breathed fresh life into his career after collecting the 40th win from 43 contests but an emotional Khan admitted a sixth defeat to go with 34 wins might spell the end of the road after 17 years as a professional.
“I’ll sit down with my family but I think it could be,” Khan said when asked whether this could be his last fight. “It’s something to think about, definitely.
“I’ve always said I never want boxing to retire me, I want to retire from boxing and punishment like that sometimes in boxing, too much of that can be sometimes harmful in the future.
“I’ll sit down with my wife and my family in the morning and see where we go from here.”
Khan was magnanimous in defeat as the former world champions, both 35, settled their differences after a fractious build-up where they had to be pulled apart by security on more than one occasion.
They have been at loggerheads for years and while the widely-held view is that this fight has come far too late in the twilight of both their careers, Khan refused to attach an asterisk to Brook’s success.
“Credit goes to Kell, he put on a great performance,” Khan said. “No excuses – the better man. He boxed out of his skin, I never expected that from him.
“The training camp I had for the fight was the best training camp. I don’t want to have anyone blame [his coaching team] because they did everything they needed to. I put my hand up and take full fault. We didn’t leave any stone unturned.”
Brook, who did not rule out hanging up the gloves himself after one of the finest wins of his career, also had warm words for someone he admitted he had come to despise after years of being snubbed for a bout.
“He’s had a fantastic career. He’s been to America, he’s won world titles, he’s been involved in some massive fights,” Brook said. “He’ll have to sit like I will and see if we do want to carry on.
“But we’ve shared the ring together and I think we’re alright now.”
Displaying brutal power, Brook, fighting for the first time since November 2020 when he was stopped in four rounds by Terence Crawford, repeatedly had Khan on wobbly legs over the 16 minutes of action.
Brook was throwing heavy punches from all angles and with Khan unable to escape the ropes, referee Victor Loughlin opted to bring a halt to proceedings, as the Yorkshire fighter rushed to his corner to celebrate.
While there has been no lack of cross words between the duo this week and they had to be pulled apart by security at Friday’s weigh-in, Brook and Khan showed respect as they embraced in the ring at the end of a long-standing rivalry.
“This fight has been a long time coming for me and I’m so happy I won’t get pestered by people saying ‘when are you going to fight Amir Khan?’ I’ve always known that was going to happen,” said a delighted Brook afterwards.
“I’m just frustrated that this fight didn’t happen sooner but it’s better late than never.
“I’ll be remembered for this fight forever. No disrespect to Amir but it felt so easy in there, it was just a matter of time.
“I’m just happy that the chapter is closed now on Amir Khan.”