Amir Khan will make history when he fights in Saudi Arabia on July 12 against Neeraj Goyat, the World Boxing Council Asian champion, it was confirmed yesterday.
Khan, whose last fight was a stoppage defeat against world welterweight star Terence Crawford at Madison Square Garden, said: “This is an exciting challenge that I have ahead of me. It will be the first time a British Pakistani will fight an Indian boxer, which eventually will bring the two nations together.”
Goyat is a phenomenon in his home country. Hailing from Chandigarh, he is a pioneer in helping to establish professional boxing there.
“This opportunity is as big as it gets for me,” he said. “Everything that I have achieved to date won’t matter when I enter the ring in July 12 to take on a seasoned, established superstar in Amir Khan. I will be carrying the hopes of 1.2 billion people on my shoulders who will expect me to bring back the title.”
The fight, officially endorsed by the Saudi General Sports Authority, fits into the country’s Vision 2030 Strategy, which was launched in April 2016 to bring about modernisation.
Early last year, Saudi Arabia held its first international motorsport event, the two-day Race of Champions. It then staged its first international boxing event, when the World Boxing Super Series Super-Middleweight final took place in Jeddah in September last year when Callum Smith defeated George Groves to become the world’s No 1 supermiddleweight.