Amir Khan says he is far from finished in elite-level boxing as the former world champion looks towards a return to the ring later this year – with Kell Brook in the United Kingdom an attractive option.
The English boxer, 32, suffered a controversial technical knockout loss to Terence Crawford less than two weeks ago in their WBO world welterweight title fight in New York.
Khan was hit with a low blow in the sixth round, prompting trainer Virgil Hunter to call an end to the bout. Already knocked down in the first round by Crawford, considered by many the sport's No 1 pound-for-pound fighter, it represented Khan’s fifth professional defeat.
Since, Khan has been heavily criticised for perceiving to have quit – something he denies – while there have been calls for him to retire.
However, speaking in Dubai on Thursday ahead of Friday’s Knockout Night at FIVE, Palm Jumeirah, Khan said he has not considered hanging up his gloves for now.
“It never really crossed my mind,” he said. “In the fight I was still there. He was technically a very good fighter and I did find it quite hard to get to him. But I still think, maybe not against a Crawford ... but I still feel I’m better than the guys like Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao. Those fights could be big still.
“I still have it in me. I still love the sport and I still work hard. I still feel like I’m up there. Mentally I’m quite strong and I know I’ll always come back from defeats. I’ve been knocked out, come back and become world champion again. I’m sure I can do it again.”
A former light-welterweight world champion, Khan has been subjected to some brutal knockdowns in his career, including against Breidis Prescott, Danny Garcia and Saul Alvarez.
The Olympic silver medallist says he is wary of the dangers of fighting on at the highest level, especially now he has two young daughters, but that he still feels he has a lot left to offer.
“I’m still enjoying it, I’m still like a kid in a sweetie shop when I’m in the gym,” Khan said. “I always said I want to leave the sport the way I walked in. I don’t want to stay in the game for too long, I want to enjoy my youth with my family.
“I’m only 32, although this is the last chapter of my career. I want to fight maybe one or two more times and then maybe call it a day. It just depends what’s out there for me.
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“Now I want to take some time off. I’m going to go back to the drawing board. I’m still in the top 10 in the world and I want to fight someone in the top 10 for my next fight. Hopefully that will be in October or November time.
“We’ve got names like Kell Brook there; still the top, top fighters there. I’m in a very lucky position that I have the opportunity to put bums on seats. TV networks like to see me fight and getting the top guys in the ring is quite easy. I’m still in a good position of getting the big names in, because we bring a lot of money to the table."
The fight with compatriot Brook has been mooted for some time, although consensus is that it should have taken place long ago when both boxers were at their peak. After the Crawford fight, Brook, also 32, said the manner of the defeat meant a clash with Khan no longer appealed.
However, Khan said: "Kell Brook still excites me. It’s a fight that’s always there. People say it’s a 50/50 fight, but I believe I would take out Kell Brook in six or seven rounds. That’s the fight that would be an easy sell.
“We’re with the same promoter in Eddie Hearn. I would like to take that fight. He’s a great fighter, Kell, he’s done a lot in the game. And that would be a massive fight in the UK. I've done everything now I wanted to do away from the UK, in America. I want to have my next fight in the UK. And if it’s Kell, it’s Kell."