Boxing: Khan upstages main event
Saturday 02 September 2006
Once again Amir Khan is the main attraction during a quality night of British boxing when the main event risks being ignored because of Khan's growing reputation and following.
Tonight at the Reebok Arena on the outskirts of Khan's home town Bolton, the Olympic silver medallist will meet London's Ryan Barrett over six rounds at lightweight in what will be the teenager's ninth bout. Khan should win.
The main event is the third fight between Sheffield's Clinton Woods and the Miami-based Jamaican Glen Johnson, who will fight for Woods' International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight title. The pair first met for the same belt in November 2003 in a fight that ended in a controversial draw. Three months later Johnson narrowly won in a rematch. Their meeting tonight will hopefully show just how much Woods has improved since their first 24 rounds of boxing, and it is possible that at the same time Johnson, 37, will finally have started to slow down.
Johnson was forced to relinquish the IBF title the same year he won it after two impressive defences against Roy Jones, who he knocked out in nine rounds, and Antonio Tarver, who he out-pointed over 12 rounds. Since then Johnson has been struggling to get back into contention for a world title. But he clearly believes that Woods has something that belongs to him.
Woods, meanwhile, managed to organise his life after the Johnson defeat and, after winning an eliminator, he won the IBF title in January last year and has since made two defences.
After Khan has finished with his business, there is every chance that Woods will be too fresh for Johnson. If Woods wins, there is then the chance of a lucrative all-British showdown with the current world champion Joe Calzaghe, and nothing in boxing works better as motivation than the promise of a large pay day.
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