LONDON (Agencies): Amir Khan expects to retire if he does not perform or “feel good” when he faces Neeraj Goyat on 12 July.
The Briton, 32, has drawn scrutiny for choosing to face India’s Goyat in Saudi Arabia for a reported £7m. Khan lost to Terence Crawford in April and has been linked with fights against British rival Kell Brook and Filipino great Manny Pacquiao.
“Let’s see how I feel in this fight. If I don’t feel like myself, I’ll probably just call it a day,” Khan said. The former super-lightweight world champion told BBC Sport: “I want to be the one who makes that decision. I don’t want to be forced to retire. “I have achieved what I wanted to achieve in the sport, so it’s now just enjoying the sport. I want to see how I feel in the fight and take it from there.
“If things didn’t go the right way or I don’t feel good I know myself I would hang up the gloves right away.” Khan, who will arrive in Jeddah three weeks before facing Goya, says Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the fight, while a letter has been sent to invite India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Bolton-born Khan hopes he can show how sport can “bring nations together” given the acrimonious relationship. between India and Pakistan. Since he was controversially pulled out of his contest with Crawford by his corner after receiving an accidental punch to his groin, the British Pakistani boxer has faced criticism, not least from former trainer Virgil Hunter, who said he hindered himself by not staying fit between training camps.
Khan has therefore sought a bout to take place less than three months since his defeat by the American: his quickest turnaround since 2008. “I’ve had defeats before and it’s how you come back,” said Khan, who now has 33 wins and five defeats. “I wanted to do it quick instead of staying out of the ring for a long time, get out of shape and then start a camp.
“After that Crawford fight, I want a nice tune-up fight to get back up to winning ways and then step it up again. “I couldn’t finish my career off with a loss like that. The more time I spent out of the ring, the more likely I would say I am going to call it a day.” Goyat, 27, is a former MMA fighter and has 11 wins, three losses and two draws in the boxing ring.
Khan hopes a win might open a route to a fight with Pacquiao, and he has not closed the door on facing Brook, who this week dispelled rumours of his own retirement by stating he hopes to take on Crawford next. “Brook and Crawford can happen,” said Khan. “I think Crawford would win quite easily. Crawford is very skilful; he’s up there with one of the best I have faced.
“I don’t know what Brook is doing. When we started talks, it went quiet. I can’t waste time negotiating, I want to be busy now, keep fighting and if the fight comes on the table I will take it.”