Former world champion Amir Khan will be hoping his September 8 return in Birmingham is a dress rehearsal for an imminent world title shot.
The one-time super-lightweight king is back in action just months after destroying Phil Lo Greco in less than a minute when Khan battles Colombian Samuel Vargas.
Knowing a massive fight is on the line, Khan can ill-afford to look bad as he plots a course to facing old stablemate Manny Pacquiao at the end of the year.
“One of my aims this year was to be as active as possible so I’m very happy to get back in the ring again so soon against Samuel Vargas,” said Khan.
“Vargas is a tough and well-schooled fighter who has shared the ring with some top welterweights including Danny Garcia and Errol Spence Jr.
“I have to get past Vargas before looking at the biggest challenges going forward. I’m not going to be taking Vargas lightly because I know he will be coming with everything on September 8.
“I hope to give the fans in Birmingham the same excitement and fireworks as my last fight. It will be one not to miss!”
Pacquiao faces Lucas Matthysse in July for the WBA welterweight title, and if successful, is lining up Khan as his first defense in December.
Khan is hoping to make it official by gaining approval from the WBA to sanction the Vargas fight as an eliminator, which shouldn’t be too hard given promoter Eddie Hearn’s good relationship with WBA President Gilberto Mendoza.
Squaring up to Pacquiao years after training alongside him under Freddie Roach would be a huge fight for Asian Boxing and could take place in Dubai, Pakistan or The Philippines (if not a UK stadium) should both boxers come through their respective bouts unscathed.