By: Ste Rowen
At Arena Birmingham this Saturday night, Amir Khan takes on Samuel Vargas in a 12-round contest that will surely propel the winner to a shot at the biggest names in the welterweight division.
Since May 2016, the former unified super-lightweight world champion, has spent just shy of 40 seconds in the ring. On his first return to the ring since being wiped out by ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Amir Khan stepped between the ropes in March to decimate an overawed and overmatched, Phil Lo Greco in the 1st round.
‘‘I didn’t get a chance to show everyone what I had been working on during my time out, against Lo Greco.’’ Said Khan, 32-4 (20KOs), speaking to his promoter Matchroom last month. ‘‘But you saw the punch power, accuracy, speed and timing, and you’ll see it again against Vargas. I always make it exciting.’’
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Post-fight in April, Amir mentioned the likes of Adrien Broner as a potential next opponent but whilst Broner is otherwise engaged – trying to get Burger King employees to quit on the spot – Khan, and promoter Eddie Hearn, moved to make the Sam Vargas bout, and keep a historically inactive fighter in Amir busy, before an expected massive welterweight showdown with any of the division’s big names.
‘‘This will take me to the bigger and better fights, and that’s with no disrespect to Sammy. He’s going to come to win. He knows by beating me it propels him on to a whole new level…Vargas is a very tough and well-schooled fighter but if he wants to fight on the inside, I’ll be more than ready for it.’’
‘‘There’re big fights in the pipeline but I can’t afford to look that far ahead. Vargas has my full attention.’’
Colombian, Vargas was on a hot streak of four consecutive victories, since his stoppage loss to Danny Garcia in 2016, until he ran into Mauro Godoy two months ago. At Ontario’s Scotiabank Convention Centre, the two South Americans fought out a tit-for-tat majority draw, which did very little to wow the crowd.
The Canadian resident isn’t exactly renowned for his power, but his KO record isn’t holding him back from laying out to the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, exactly how dangerous of an opponent he will be,
‘‘If I touch him on the chin, he’s going down. That’s a guarantee…He’s been stopped really badly a couple of times, so we know it’s always there and we have 36 minutes to do it…Your body can only take so much before it gives out. Maybe this is the fight for him.’’
As mentioned earlier, Vargas, 29-3-2 (14KOs), isn’t a complete stranger to sharing the ring with the biggest talent. The current WBA-NABA champion has stepped in, and lost to WBC champ at the time, Danny Garcia – going 3 rounds further than Saturday night’s opponent could handle against the Philadelphian – and the 2015 tussle with a 15-0, Errol Spence.
‘‘I’ve been in there with the best. Obviously, I didn’t get the results that I wanted but those defeats have been my biggest lessons…I’m just a regular guy that decided not to quit and not give up, to get up and to keep on going. And here I am.’’
‘‘This is all or nothing for me.’’
This fight will also be Bolton native, Khan’s second under the tutelage of Joe Goosen. Hopefully fans get to see a little more of what the legendary trainer has been teaching him this time round.
Saturday night’s card also includes a number of domestic favourites including;
Current British middleweight champion, Jason Welborn will once again face-off against Tommy Langford, the man he took the Lonsdale belt from back in May, with a 12-round split decision.
British lightweight champion, Lewis Ritson is scheduled for a 10-round stay busy fight against Nicaraguan, Oscar Amador, 10-7 (1KO). The Newcastle native, 16-0 (10KOs), is already set to headline a card in his hometown on the 13th October, where he’ll come up against Belgian, Francesco Patera, 19-3 (7KOs), for the EBU European 135lb title.
2014 Commonwealth gold medallist at 69kg, Scott Fitzgerald, 10-0 (7KOs), takes on southpaw, Craig Morris, 10-1 (3KOs).
Sam ‘The Savage’ Eggington enters the ring for the 3rd time in 2018 when he takes on Tanzanian, Hassan Mwakinyo, 11-2 (7KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder. Eggington, 23-4 (15KOs) is currently 15th in the WBC’s junior middleweight rankings.
The Midlands Area junior middleweight champion, Ryan Kelly, 11-1 (5KOs), defends his strap for the first time, against the unbeaten Kelcie Ball, 9-0 (2KOs).