Britain’s Amir Khan expects a convincing triumph over Lamont Peterson and greater crowd support than the hometown hero when he defends two world boxing titles today in Washington.
“I know when I go into the ring I will win this fight convincingly. I will do whatever it takes,” Khan said on Thursday. “I’m going to be ready for whatever he brings to the table.”
Khan, 26-1 with 18 knockouts, risks his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation light-welterweight titles against Peterson, 29-1-1 with 15 knockouts, in his likely farewell fight in the division.
Unless unbeaten US rival Tim Bradley accepts a fight, Khan plans to rise to the welterweight ranks, where undefeated US star Floyd Mayweather Jr and a host of new big payday foes await.
“I’m 90 percent sure,” Khan said. “I’m moving up after this fight because there are no challenges left for me.”
Khan added to the formidable test posed by Peterson, once a homeless youth living on the streets of the US capital, by coming to Washington to fight him.
“I’m not afraid of anything. I’ve fought all around the world,” Khan said. “I’ve had a lot of support here this week. I really think I’ll have more fans there on Saturday than Lamont Peterson. That’s going to make it feel like home. Winning a fight over Lamont Peterson in his hometown is better than beating him in Vegas. To beat him in Washington is a bigger achievement for me.”
Peterson relishes the underdog role. It is one he has had most of his life, beating the odds to make himself a championship contender.
“It’s an advantage,” Peterson said. “It kind of puts the edge on your shoes. You want to change people’s perspective. It gives you the urge to prove to everyone you can win the fight. And I will win the fight.”
Khan is counting on denying Peterson the upset, but praises him at the same time as a difficult rival to discount.
“He’s going to be strong, quick and come forward,” Khan said. “A lot of people don’t want to fight Lamont because he will beat them. We’re going to give him the chance to show what he can do. My power is developing. I’m getting better. I need to be quick and ready for his strength. It could be a long fight.”
Bradley inflicted Peterson’s only loss two years ago, but Peterson’s trainer, Barry Hunter, has seen his fighter mature since then.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth since that fight,” he said. “I would put Lamont against any fighter on the planet and be comfortable with it. The strongest fight you have in any fight is your brain. What we lacked in the Bradley fight was mental preparation. Mentally, we are stronger. Now we need to be a hero. We don’t mind stepping up and taking that challenge.”
Khan’s trainer, Freddie Roach, who this week was elected to boxing’s Hall of Fame, expects Khan to be at his best today.
“Amir is really ready,” Roach said. “He had a great training camp. He was working hard.”