The official news just broke today in a London press conference. Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) will forego a grudge match with Kell Brook in order to challenge Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) for his WBO welterweight title on April 20th.
A venue for the bout has not been set at this time, but it will reportedly take place at either Madison Square Garden in New York, or at the T-Mobile Arena, Mandalay Bay, or MGM Grand as the Las Vegas options. The bout will serve as the main event for an ESPN card that will air on pay-per-view, starting at 9 p.m. ET, which also mark ESPN’s first PPV under their seven-year deal with Top Rank.
Khan, 32, enters this bout coming off of two tune-up wins against Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas last year. Those were his only fights since he getting knocked out cold by Canelo Alvarez in 2016. Following that KO loss Khan took time away from boxing to take care of some lingering injuries and star in a realty television series. And when he returned to action under the Matchroom banner — the same promotional company as Kell Brook — it was expected that the long awaited Khan-Brook fight was finally on the horizon. But alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. Here’s what Khan had to say about making the decision to face Crawford instead of Brook:
“The decision as to fighting Kell Brook or Crawford has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career to date,” Khan said. “Clearly, the U.K. fans want to see Khan versus Brook, but I could not turn down the opportunity to fight for the WBO title. That is not to say that the Brook fight won’t happen, as I want that fight to happen as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile Crawford, 31, enters this bout riding a streak of 5 consecutive stoppage wins, the most recent coming against Jose Benavidez Jr. last October. Speaking on this upcoming fight, Crawford said:
“It’s always been my goal to fight the best fighters out there, and I look at Amir Khan as one of the top fighters in my division,” Crawford said. “I know some people are writing him off, but I am by no means overlooking him. He’s a former unified world champion, and come April 20, I’ll be looking to go out there to seek and destroy. I’m excited about this fight because I believe it can push my career to another level.”
Crawford is rated as one of the the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, but his alignment with Top Rank seemingly makes the most interesting match-ups in the division difficult since most of the top fighters at 147 are under the Premier Boxing Champion’s banner.
Khan has an affiliation with PBC leader Al Haymon too, but that didn’t appear to be a roadblock in making the Crawford fight. In fact, Khan’s promoter Eddie Hearn has publicly said that he never even spoke to Haymon about making this fight.
Anyway, we’ll let you know about the particulars of the fight, such as the PPV price and venue, as soon as that information is released.