Boxing: Khan faces his moment of truth

Amir Khan will tonight make arguably the hardest defence of a world title by a British boxer since poor Frank Bruno travelled to Las Vegas in 1996 to face a brutal beating from Mike Tyson.

Khan turned 24 just three days ago and he seems like a veteran having been popular since his exploits as a 17-year-old pup at the Athens Olympics in 2004, but his third defence of his World Boxing Association light-welterweight title against Argentine puncher Marcos Maidana will finally show everybody just how good he is.

Maidana is young at 27, has just one defeat in 30 fights and has left 27 of his 29 victims on the canvas or in the welcome arms of the referee. He is a serious threat to the British fighter and accepting the fight was an enormous risk by all involved in the Khan business; it is a reassuring fact that it was the boxer who ordered his handlers and advisers to get Maidana in the ring at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Khan will need to box a strategically flawless fight, refuse any rushes of blood to his head and be content to take the drama out of the occasion at the risk of ruining the event; winning ugly is still a win.

The biggest test for an Olympic medal winner is not in Las Vegas but at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, where Beijing gold medallist James DeGale makes an audacious bid for the British super-middleweight title after only eight fights.

DeGale has never completed five rounds as a professional boxer during his brief, entertaining and textbook career and eyebrows were raised when his promoter Frank Warren announced that fight No 9 would be against Paul Smith.

This will be the third time in 14 months that Smith has fought for the British title at the Echo Arena and his two previous fights were bruising and bloody encounters that he won on points after 12 rounds. Smith is a local idol, just over four years older than DeGale and is mystified that the bookies have made him the underdog.

It is one of the most eagerly anticipated British title fights in years and, like the Khan fight, a tremendous gamble for DeGale and all of his people. However, boxing promotion has always been about taking the right risk at the right time, even if there is no sign that Smith is fading, injured or struggling at that weight.

The nominal main event at the Echo Arena is between unbeaten Welshman Nathan Cleverly and late and dangerous replacement Nadjib Mohammedi for the interim version of the World Boxing Organisation light-heavyweight title. Cleverly was once the unpaid sparring partner of Joe Calzaghe and is now a serious attraction and will look good beating the Frenchman.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballIt's not a game to lose, writes Paul Scholes
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant for Year 4

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: A Teaching Assistant is requ...

Nursery Teacher in Sherwood

£100 - £145 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Teaching job available wor...

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes