Amir Khan will step up a division to light-welterweight and challenge WBA World Champion Andreas Kotelnik promoter Frank Warren said today. Hot-shot Khan, fresh from his win against Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera – WBO #1 and WBA #3 ranked at the time – last month in Manchester, gets his dream opportunity on June 27 with a venue to be confirmed shortly. Warren said, “This is the moment that Amir has been waiting for and I’m delighted to deliver him the opportunity. Amir put in a sensational performance against a three time world champion and future Hall of Famer in Barrera in only his 21st fight and now he has to produce the same form against Kotelnik who is a good hard fighter.”
Khan, 22, has campaigned predominantly in the lightweight division, winning the Commonwealth, WBO and WBA Intercontinental titles, but he moved up to 140lbs for an IBF Intercontinental title fight in December 2006 to beat Rachid Drilzane.
Kotelnik, who is from the Ukraine and based in Germany, is well known in Britain having fought here three times; in 2005 when he was robbed of the decision in his European title fight against Junior Witter, then in 2007 when he held then WBA World Champion Souleymane M’Baye to a draw and last year when he beat Gavin Rees to win the WBA crown.
Since defeating Rees he has made two successful title defences against Norio Kimura and Marcos Rene Maidana both on points.
Like Khan, he won an Olympic lightweight silver medal but at the 2000 Sydney games, and in 34 fights Kotelnik has never been stopped.
Naturally, Khan is excited about his world title showdown against Kotelnik. “This is the best news that I could have received,” said Khan.
“To fight for the world title in only my 22nd fight and at the age of just 22 is fantastic. Frank has done a great job getting the world title fight for me in Britain and now I have to go out win it.”
“I’ve seen Kotelnik a few times and I’ve always been impressed by him but once my trainer Freddie Roach works out the game plan to beat him it’s my job to execute it on the night as I did effectively against Barrera.”