Can Khan continue his recovery on home soil?

Amir Khan returns to fight in the UK for the first time in two years as he takes on former world champion Julio Diaz at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on April 27th. Can Khan continue his recovery after suffering a devastating knockout loss against Danny Garcia?

Khan heavy favourite on home soil


Amir Khan (27-3, 19 KOs) makes his long awaited return to the UK after two years fighting in the US when he takes on Julio Diaz in Sheffield on April 27th.


Khan’s last fight on home soil saw him win a scrappy affair with Paul McCloskey via a technical decision due to a clash of heads. After beating Zab Judah, Khan then suffered two defeats in succession against Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia in America.


Following the losses, Khan split from Freddie Roach claiming that the legendary trainer was not giving him enough attention – Roach also trained Manny Pacquiao.


After the split Khan teamed up with defensive master Virgil Hunter to hone his defence, which had previously exposed his suspect chin in his two knockout defeats against Breidis Prescott and Garcia.


Khan’s first fight under the stewardship of Hunter saw him stop the previously undefeated Carlos Molina in Los Angeles. Now ‘King’ Khan is the massive 1.111* favourite to beat Diaz.


Diaz hoping to roll back the years


Despite entering the ring as the 7.010* underdog, Julio Diaz (40-7-1, 29 KOs) firmly expects to shock the world of boxing and put and end to Khan’s resurrection.


Last time out the Mexican pugilist drew against Shawn Porter, which convinced his doubters that he wasn’t finished. After suffering three defeats in five fights, Diaz is now undefeated in three and looking for a last hurrah.


The former world champion is a tough but smart fighter, and will attempt to drag Khan into a war and unsettle the Brit from his game plan.


Tale of the tape


Khan is renowned for his rapid punch speed and will look to get in and out before Diaz can counter. With a one-inch reach advantage, the Bolton boxer will look to impose his dominance early in the fight.


In terms of power, Diaz is considered to pack more of a punch, despite Khan having a slightly better knockout percentage of 63.33% compared to Diaz’s of 60.42%.


Both men are prone to being stopped with Khan not making the count on two occasions, while Diaz has been stopped in five of his seven defeats.


Khan enters unchartered waters at 143lb


It’s no secret that Diaz is seen as a safe tune-up fight for Khan’s return to the UK – the Golden Boy selected a non-top 15 ranked fighter. The pair will fight at a 143lb catchweight with the idea that Khan will gradually ease his way up to welterweight.


However, Khan has never fought above 140lbs in his career and has been knocked out at both 135lbs and 140lbs. Diaz himself has fought most of his career at lightweight but stepped up to welterweight against Porter and looked solid with the extra load.


While Khan has reportedly been working hard on his defence, we have yet to see any evidence in the ring. Molina was too small to really hurt Khan, but Diaz is a different challenge and Khan will have to box smart.


Could the crowd prove to be Khan’s downfall?


Returning to the UK, Khan will be hoping to put on a show and build his legacy after two years away. However, he may be too eager to impress.


When Khan has fought in front of large raucous crowds in the past he has been prone to losing his game plan and fighting in a reckless manner, notably against Garcia, Peterson and Maidana.


If Khan can’t control his emotions, Diaz will be ready to take advantage and test his defence. When he fought Molina, he started well but slipped back into old ways – Khan was tagged too many times in the first seven rounds before Molina tired.


If the same happens against Diaz, Khan could become the second Englishman to fall flat this year after David Price’s embarrassing failure against Tony Thompson.


Click here for the latest Khan vs. Diaz betting odds


Source: Pinnacle




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