LIVERPOOL: Pakistani-British Boxer and former world champion has knocked out Italian boxer Phil Le Greco in less than a minute in highly anticipated match on Saturday night.
Fought at a catch-weight of 150-pounds, Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) demolished Phil Lo Greco (28-4, 15 KOs) in the contest that was the first for Khan in two years, after dealing with personal issue and rehabilitation for surgery on his hand.
He was last seen in action back in May of 2016, when he was knocked out cold in the sixth round, at a catch-weight of 155-pounds, by then WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Within the first fifteen seconds, Khan decked Lo Greco and had him in trouble. Lo Greco beat the count and then Khan battered him with punches that sent the Italian fighter down for the second time and the contest was waved off.
Next up could be a grudge match showdown with former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook.
“It motivates me to be back in Britain. British boxing is on a high now,” said Khan told Telegraph earlier in the day.
“I’ve had big fights, fought big names and fought in America numerous times. I’ve done that now and it’s about coming home to finish my career. I’ve fought in Vegas four times, Los Angeles, Madison Square Garden, New York.
“When I went to America, British boxing wasn’t that big. It’s massive over here now. Fighters didn’t want to come here to fight me but now it’s the opposite and things have changed. Anthony Joshua is selling out arenas and that’s what I want to be doing. I want to be seen as a Britain-based fighter again.”
Such wishes meant that Khan has teamed up with promoter Eddie Hearn, though the pair have had well-documented disagreements. “Forget the ego and the drama of before, it’s about looking forward,” said Khan. “This is about my career, it’s about business.”
For business, read “Kell Brook”, or “world title fights”. Khan has a deep rivalry with Brook and a contest between them, well overdue, would settle a dispute over bragging rights which has simmered darkly for five years.
“I’m going to be much smarter with my speed and power, use it at the right time and be precise and careful,” Khan had reckoned.
But what Lo Greco has done craftily is get under Khan’s skin, speaking out about his private life, over which he emphasised this week that there are no regrets. Lo Greco has been vocal about Khan’s prior marital issues and has goaded the Briton on social media for weeks.
“If they’d picked some politically correct guy, would it be sold-out? Let’s be honest,” he said. “The moral of the story is he should live his private life in private and never mention it. He must have expected it, it’s stuff that’s been out there for years and I was just saying things that we all know. He took it personally and he snapped.
“He’s going to be emotional on the night and that’s fine, it’s what we want. It doesn’t bother me, I can take care of myself – he’s rattled though, make no mistake. But I’ve worked on getting in great shape and on a plan to beat Amir, no doubt about it. If he thinks I put a fire up his ass to get motivated, he needs to know he did the same for me.”
On Friday though, Khan shrugged off the insults. “All the family stuff, we all make mistakes,” said Khan. “It’s only made me a stronger person. If I hadn’t gone through that, I don’t think I would have come back at any time.”
If Khan is on song, he ought to dismantle Lo Greco over six to seven rounds and force a stoppage in the later rounds. Anything less, and Khan’s ambitions of big nights, and big fights, will have the echoes of long ago.