Brian Laws

Inside Lines Exclusive: Khan set to become a golden boy and give up

Amir Khan is to leave Britain and sign for Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. I understand the WBA light-welterweight champion has decided he wants to live and fight in the United States after a 23-bout career skilfully masterminded by the British promoter Frank Warren, who took him from Olympic silver-medallist to world champion. His defection will be a cruel blow to Warren, who also lost Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and Naseem Hamed after they became world champions. Warren said last night: "No one has been in touch with me about this and if this is the case I am bitterly disappointed because I delivered everything I said I would with Amir." There was no official comment from the Khan camp but a source close to the 23-year-old Bolton fighter says: "Amir has a lot of respect for Frank and appreciates what he did but it is time to move on. America is the place to be for the next phase in his career, and obviously to get fights there he needs to work with an American promoter." Khan, who has an apartment in Los Angeles and trains alongside Manny Pacquiao with Freddie Roach, is due to make a second defence of his world title against the fierce-hitting Argentinian Marcos Maidana, another Golden Boy fighter, but there is speculation that Roach wants Khan to relinquish the title rather than face an opponent who has KO'd all but one of his 27 opponents. I'm told Roach considers Maidana too big a risk and instead Khan is likely to fight the lighter-punching Paulie Malignaggi – a Hatton victim – in the spring. The scenario is that Khan would then meet Hatton, who has officially announced his comeback, in a big-money blockbuster in Manchester jointly promoted by Golden Boy and Hatton himself. Malignaggi would be an easy fight, as would Hatton. But it's a shame that the promoter who helped make his American dream possible is being frozen out of his future.