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Khan's opponent named
ITV to show Witter's next fight

Promoter Frank Warren has signed a deal with ITV to bring professional boxing back to terrestrial television.
ITV will broadcast 20 shows a year, including IBF light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton and WBO super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe.

The first show will feature the pro debut of Olympic hero Amir Khan.

Khan features on the undercard of Matt Skelton's British heavyweight title defence against Danny Williams at the Bolton Arena on 16 July.

On 23 July, British and Commonwealth super featherweight champion Alex Arthur will attempt to win the European title against Boris Sinitsin at Edinburgh's Meadowbank Stadium.

Warren spent 14 years at ITV, delivering some of the biggest names in British boxing including Frank Bruno, Nigel Benn and Naseem Hamed.

He and his Sports Network outfit moved to Sky Sports in 1995 but the return to ITV of new controller of sport Mark Sharman, a keen boxing fan, prompted Warren's return.

Warren said: "We saw the huge potential of boxing on ITV when we promoted the Amir Khan-Mario Kindelan rematch in May.

"It delivered fantastic TV ratings - to the tune of 6.3m viewers - that beat everything else that night and is the biggest Saturday night viewership this year.

Also on Warren's books are WBO featherweight champion Scott Harrison and WBO cruiserweight king Johnny Nelson.

Mick Hennessy-promoted British, European and Commonwealth light welterweight champion Junior Witter will fight live on ITV on 9 July.

Meanwhile, Sky is to continue its commitment to boxing and will cherry-pick big fights.

Khan's debut opponent announced

Hatton, Calzaghe & Khan on ITV
Amir Khan will make his professional debut against London's David Bailey in Bolton on 16 July.
The fight is on the undercard of Matt Skelton's British heavyweight title defence against Danny Williams and will be broadcast live by ITV.

Southpaw Bailey has won three of his seven fights in the paid ranks and his trainer Eugene Maloney says he is surpised he has been matched with Khan.

Bailey remains optimistic despite a checkered pro record.

"My attitude is that I have got to go to Bolton and stop him.

"I've had experience fighting away from home and my losses have all been close decisions which I believe I won.

"I will be aiming to put on the pressure because this is the pro game and it is different for Amir now."

Bailey will be helped by stable-mate Craig Watson, who floored Khan at this year's ABA Championships in Preston before losing a tight scrap on points.


Amir Khan will make his professional debut in Bolton

Amir Khan is being lined up to fight in Belfast in September on the same bill as Eamonn Magee's defence of the WBU welterweight crown.

The Belfast bill will be Olympic silver medallist Khan's second professional bout after a 16 July debut in his home town of Bolton.

Khan should prove a crowd-puller for the province's fight fans.

Commonwealth champion Joshua Okine is reported to be in the frame for a crack at Magee's peripheral crown.

Promoter Frank Warren has not announced a definite date yet for the bill.

Khan to make pro debut in Bolton

Amir Khan will make his professional debut in his home town of Bolton in July after a switch of venues.

Promoter Frank Warren changed the location of the 16 July fight from London to the 7,000-seat Bolton Arena.

The 18-year-old Olympic silver medallist will appear on the undercard of Matt Skelton's British heavyweight title defence against Danny Williams.

Warren said: "It's fitting that he should have his first professional fight in his home town."

Khan, who avenged his Athens 2004 lightweight final defeat by overcoming Kindelan in Bolton last Saturday, said: "It will be great to have my first pro fight in front of my own supporters."

Warren added: "We've got a cracking heavyweight fight that will draw anywhere and we thought it would be nice for Amir to have his first fight there."

Warren is hoping to announce the name of Khan's debut opponent next week but said it would be a British fighter over four rounds.

Warren also stressed that Khan would be developed in the "Warren Way".

"He's not going to be rushed. I will guide him the right way and we'll make the right moves at the right time, as was done with Nigel Benn, Naseem Hamed and Ricky Hatton," said the Sports Network chief.

"I think he'll become one of the youngest fighters to win a world title. But it's a long road and it's not going to happen in two years.

"We'll keep him busy and pick put the right opponents to bring out the best in him.

"Is he going to get some guys who he'll knock over? I'm sure he will do because he's that quality of fighter. But there will also be guys who will test him.

"These are exciting times for British boxing, there's so much happening behind the scenes. It's being regenerated and there are some great fight coming up.

"We're coming into a golden period of British boxing."

Meanwhile, heavyweight rivals Skelton and Williams appeared relaxed about the fight being moved from London's ExCel Arena.

"I'm not bothered about him having the limelight - he's the next big thing so let him have the limelight," said Williams.

"All I'm bothered about is winning the British title again and moving on to another world title shot."

Champion Skelton added: "The country's behind him, it's great. I can imagine the atmosphere's going to be electric. I'm just looking forward to it."

Warren refused to confirm or deny whether the Bolton show will be shown on Sky or ITV.

Amir Khan signed off his amateur career with a superb revenge win over Olympic conqueror Mario Kindelan.
Cuban legend Kindelan had beaten Khan in the lightweight final in Athens, but he had no answer to the Briton in front of a passionate Bolton crowd.

After a cagey opening, Khan exploded on to the offensive and showed brilliant hand speed to prevail 19-13 on points.

Khan, 18, then announced he had agreed a pro deal with promoter Frank Warren, as Kindelan, 33, bowed out of boxing.

I don't think for one minute that Khan was going to lose and it seemed Kindelan was backing off him

Khan looked composed from the outset, entering to a huge ovation from the crowd who sang "Show me the way to Amir-illo" as an adaptation of the recently re-released Tony Christie song.

Another Warren fighter Ricky Hatton was at ringside with middleweight legend Nigel Benn, cricketer Freddie Flintoff and Bolton boss Sam Allardyce.

And Khan treated them, sizing up the hugely-experienced Kindelan in the first two minutes before taking control of the fight in the following rounds.

Amir beat the number one amateur fighter in the world and never looked like he was in any danger

Frank Warren
Boxing promoter
Feature: What next for Khan?

He rocked his Cuban rival with a couple of fierce punches and allowed the Olympic champion no way back.

"Amir beat the number one amateur fighter in the world and never looked like he was in any danger," said Warren.

"What else can you do? I will promote him and manage him as of now.

"Composure, confidence, skills - everything's there for him and will stand him in good stead," said Warren, who has called Khan the best Olympic prospect since Sugar Ray Leonard.


British boxing sensation Amir Khan has vowed to turn professional if he beats Mario Kindelan on Saturday.
Khan, who lost to Kindelan in the 2004 Olympic lightweight final, has been pencilled in for a third fight against the Cuban on away soil in July.

But the 18-year-old admitted there would be no point in staying amateur if he defeats Kindelan in Bolton.

"I don't think there would be anything else to prove - Saturday would be as good a time as any to go pro," he said.

"But if I lose to Kindelan, I will want another crack at him."

Khan wants to become the youngest British world champion, eclipsing Naseem Hamed, who was 21 when he beat Steve Robinson to gain the WBO featherweight title

I want to go straight in at the deep end and aim for that world title

Amir Khan

"Naz was a great boxer and to beat his record would be great," said Khan.

"I would need a couple of easy fights because it would be like starting from the beginning.

"But then I want tough fights because I want to beat the record. I want to go straight in at the deep end and aim for that world title."

Promoter Frank Warren, who is set to look after Khan in the pro ranks, endorsed the teenager's aims.

"You have got to hand it to the guy because many fighters would just have turned professional and not worried," he said.

"But he wants to fight the best and Kindelan is the best - he is a legend. Whatever happens this is going to stand him in good stead.

"Then I believe Amir can go on to become the youngest British world champion of all time."


Khan secures Kindelan encounter

Promoter Frank Warren is hopeful that Britain's Amir Khan will choose to turn professional after his rematch with Mario Kindelan on Saturday.

Khan has so far resisted the chance to go professional so he can have another bout with 33-year-old Kindelan, who beat him in last year's Olympic final.

"I think he should have turned professional after the Olympics but that was not the case," Warren said.

"Whether it is his last amateur fight or not I don't know, I hope so."

Warren expects a more closely-contested affair when 18-year-old Khan takes on the Cuban at the Reebok Stadium.

The Bolton fighter lost 30-22 to Kindelan in the Athens lightweight final, but the veteran promoter said of him: "I think he has got a bit more experience and I think it will be a much closer fight this time.

"This is the fight he wants.

"You have to take your hat off to him. How many fighters on the verge of maybe signing a professional, lucrative signing-on bonus and so forth would put that at risk by taking ...

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