Boxing: Khan ready to move up fighting scale

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The Independent Online

It looks finally as if Amir Khan is running out of opponents – and that could be a bad thing for the Dane, Martin Krisjansen, at the Bolton Arena tonight.

Khan, who is now 21 and unbeaten in 16 fights as a professional, is ready to walk away from learning fights and calculated bits of match-making to explore the big wide world of boxing where occasionally a 50-50 fight breaks out.

Tonight Khan will move up the World Boxing Organisation's ratings with an easy win against Krisjansen and it will hopefully be the last time he steps into the ring without any realistic chance of losing.

His brilliant progress from teenage Olympic silver medallist in 2004 to a fighter of genuine world class who is attracting an awful lot of attention, has been steady rather than spectacular.

There is no doubting Khan's commitment to his trade but it is time now to move up a grade or two.

Krisjansen has lost once but, like all favoured Danish boxers, he has benefited from some sensational match-making that has helped him secure a WBO position which in turn has led to tonight's title eliminator. It will be Khan's last easy fight and it is fitting that it is taking place in his home town and hopefully the 8,000 fans will treat the win like a graduation and celebrate accordingly.

"This is the most important and dangerous fight of my career," Khan insisted.

"I have to win this and keep the pressure on the world champions and that is why it's so important." Khan is right because during the last few months his name has been tentatively linked with various world champions and it is known that negotiations have taken place either by phone or during chance meetings at various fistic gatherings.

The list of world lightweight champions at the moment looks impressive but a couple of them are veterans and it is highly likely that Khan could be matched with either Nate Campbell, Joel Casamayor or even David Diaz.

Assuming Khan takes care of business tonight in front of an audience on terrestrial TV that could exceed six million because of the early broadcast time, there is a chance that he will fight for a world title before the end of the year but it is far more likely that he will have one or even two more lucrative outings before putting his signature on a contract for a fight that will finally be exactly what it claims to be.

* Jon Thaxton’s hopes of meeting Khan were left in ruins by last night’s defeat to European lightweight champion Yuri Romanov at York Hall, Bethnal Green. Thaxton, 33, from Norwich, withdrew after the fifth round after sustaining a nasty cut above his eye.