Exclusive: Amir Khan talks return plans, hand surgery, Canelo v Smith and UK / Middle Eastern fights

Naoki Fukuda

Welterweight star Amir Khan has had some relax and recuperation time over summer as the Briton eyes a return to action in January.

Khan last fought when halted by Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas last May, having had the bravery to move up eight pounds from 147 to challenge the Mexican superstar for the WBC middleweight title.

The defeat is now firmly behind the ex-super lightweight king following months packed with the duties of helping others and celebrating landmark family events, leaving Khan refreshed and ready to begin training for his next bout.

It’s hoped undergoing surgery in June after revelations he’s been fighting with a broken hand for years will be the catalyst for a busy 2017 as Khan puts together a three-fight plan to regain a version of the world title.

“My time away was brilliant. I had some good family time with my brother’s (Haroon’s) wedding and also got plenty of charity work done,” Khan exclusively told World Boxing News.

“Hopefully, I can get a fight early next year to get back in the ring and see how my hand has developed, which will lead me on to two massive fights later in the year.

“Having three fights next year has always has been the plan, but you know boxing is crazy and things change all the time. My hand is recovering well and nothing can hold me back now. I definitely want to bring a huge fight to the UK around April or May.”

Asked whether fighting in the Middle East was still in his thoughts after talk of a possible clash with Indian up and comer Vijender Singh filled column inches since the spring, Khan remains hopeful a fight close to the region would come to fruition one day.

“There has always been talks with the Middle East on fighting there but it just depends on getting an opponent and the promoters to agree,” he explained.

““We got very close to the Pacquiao fight there but then he decided to fight Bradley instead. I definitely want to fight in the Middle East before I retire.”

One of Khan’s compatriots, Liam Smith – who ironically trains at his gym in Bolton, is next up for old foe Canelo and the 29 year-old is convinced the Merseysider can give the two-weight world champion problems on September 17.

“I think Liam has a huge chance of beating Canelo,” predicted Khan. “He’s the natural at that weight and I can see Liam doing a lot of damage during the second part of the fight.”