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Khan Feeling More Appreciation From American Fans

Amir Khan says he feels more appreciated in the United States than Great Britain but is determined to win the hearts and minds of his own public.

An opportunity to boost his popularity comes in the early hours of Sunday morning when he faces Zab Judah in a light-welterweight world title unification showdown at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas.

Why such a gifted and courageous fighter is met with indifference and occasional hostility in his homeland is difficult to fathom.

Khan feels his achievements warrant greater recognition, something that has been more forthcoming in America since decamping to Los Angeles to train at Freddie Roach's Wildcard gym.

"There are still sceptics around at home but I always say that I'm the best, most exciting fighter Britain has had for a long, long time," he said.

"You can put any name against me, but I know I'm the most exciting.

"A lot of people don't give me the credit I deserve but I fight because I love the sport and want to put on good shows.

"When I retire, the people who didn't think I was that good will think 'hang on, Amir was good after all'.

"I definitely feel more appreciated here than in the UK. At this moment in time, I'm getting more love in America from boxing fans."

Khan believes his willingness to accept hazardous fights explains why he is admired across the Atlantic.

IBF champion Judah falls just short of top class and at 33 his best days are behind him, but he remains a dangerous opponent who possesses the power and guile to cause an upset.

The fight with Judah only materialised after Timothy Bradley, recognised as the division's most formidable operator, refused to face the Olympic silver medallist despite having reached a verbal agreement to do so.

Surviving a hair-raising clash with Argentinean knockout specialist Marcos Maidana to prevail on points enhanced his reputation, as did wins over Marco Antonio Barrera and Andreas Kotelnik.

Mexican great Erik Morales is being lined up later in the year, as is a step up to welterweight to face Kell Brook before the defining moment arrives - a proposed clash with Floyd Mayweather in autumn 2012.

"People in the States realise I'm taking the big fights on and understand boxing a bit better," said Khan, holder of the WBA belt.

"They know I wanted to fight Bradley but he wouldn't take it.

"Judah's another name who was very dangerous and I took it straight away.

"I could have waited for Maidana to win a world title and then fought him, but I took it early.

"I'm taking risky fights and I'm getting respect for that in America.

"Even walking down the street I'm getting recognition. I've been here for three years but it's only just happening now.

"Here I've got respect for fights that people didn't expect me to take, like Maidana, because I've got a suspect chin and had been knocked out.

"Maidana had knocked out a lot of people, putting people to sleep.

"He caught me with a clean shot in the temple in the 10th round when my legs weren't working so well.

"He caught me with another seven or eight-punch combination but I was still there and that when the Americans thought 'wow, this is what we want to see'.

"I shouldn't have taken so many shots but that wins fans over, fans love seeing tear-ups.

"I'm fighting the best guys at light-welterweight. There's no-one else in the division fighting the best, just me."

The retirement of Ricky Hatton and defeat of David Haye by Wladimir Klitschko has presented Khan with the chance to woo the British public.

All-action super-middleweight Carl Froch is widely admired and Khan knows winning alone is insufficient to court approval.

"To win over the British public I've got to put on great performances," he said.

"You keep the fans happy and on your side by putting on good performances. You have to look good. It's not enough just to win.

"You have to put on exciting fights, fights that will make people want to buy the next pay-per-view.

"They need to know the guy they're paying to watch is worth it."

Much of the focus this week has been on Judah's age, but the Las Vegas resident - a five-time world champion - insists he is in his prime.

"People like Wladimir Klitschko and Bernard Hopkins are higher in the pound-for-pound rankings and are older, but no-one talks about their age. I'm not old," he said.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by VatoMulatto on 07-23-2011

Khan sounds a bit delusional. The Brit support IS his fanbase. He's a mainstream star in England and he gets a lot of love. In America pretty much only boxing fans know who the hell he is. You shouldn't diss…

Comment by bloodbubble on 07-23-2011

[QUOTE=Shogun99;10882699]Right because we always see Amir trying to indoctrinate the boys over at the Wild Card:stupid: LOL so to summarize; one reason you dislike Amir is because of his "Middle Eastern" ethnicity. Not because of what he has done, but…

Comment by Shogun99 on 07-23-2011

[QUOTE=bloodbubble;10881807]On Ali, Tyson and B-Hop. You should watch the early interviews with Ali on Islam. The very definition of racism. Tyson - A troubled kid, a troubled adult, a troubled muslim, but he seems to be alright now. To quote…

Comment by punchmehard on 07-22-2011

To get more appreciation, Khan should send some nude photos of himself to the public like what he did to the stripper.:la::la::la:

Comment by bojangles1987 on 07-22-2011

Khan is steadily earning the justified attention of boxing fans. He better not blow it against old ass Judah.

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