Amir Khan to face India’s Neeraj Goyat in Saudi Arabia for reported £7m

LONDON (Agencies): Amir Khan’s next fight will be in Saudi Arabia against Indian boxer Neeraj Goyat, earning him a reported £7m.

Khan, 32, lost to WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in April when his corner controversially pulled him out following a low blow.

The bout against WBC Asian Champion Goyat – who has been described as “India’s national boxing hero” – is slated for 12 July. “This is an exciting challenge I have ahead of me,” said Khan. The fight will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

“It will be the first time a British Pakistani will fight an Indian boxer, which eventually will bring the two nations together,” added Khan. “I’m a firm believer in sport being a great healer. I would like to thank the Saudi government and General Sports Authority for giving me this opportunity.”

Former MMA fighter Goyat won both of his fights before making his professional boxing debut in 2011. He has 11 wins, three defeats and two draws on his boxing record.

The fight will mirror Floyd Mayweather’s Tokyo exhibition bout with Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in December 2018. On that occasion the American earned a reported $9m and secured a knockout win inside the first round. At the time, former light-welterweight world champion Khan had criticised Mayweather for taking “joke fights” that are “hurting boxing”.

Goyat, 27, was the first Indian boxer to be ranked by the WBC, peaking at number 21 in the world. “This opportunity is as big as it gets for me,” said Goyat. “I will be carrying the hopes of 1.2bn people on my shoulders who will expect me to bring the title by causing an upset.” Khan, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, last held world titles in 2011.

After defeat at middleweight by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2016, Khan took 23 months away from competition and since returning had picked up two wins before his defeat by Crawford. Following his latest loss, 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce praised Khan’s heart but said he at times looked “awkward” and “should retire now”.