By Elliot Foster
Amir Khan produced his blistering hand speed once more as he set up a potential pre-Christmas super-fight.
The Bolton welterweight, a former unified super-lightweight world champion, was back in action at the Arena Birmingham, exclusively live on Sky Sports.
Khan, who returned from a 23-month hiatus back in April with a scintillating 39-second bombing out of Canadian Phil Lo Greco at the ECHO Arena in Liverpool, took out Samuel Vargas in similar fashion.
But he was forced to overcome adversity in the process before coming out with a convincing unanimous decision victory by margins of 119-108, 119-109 and 118-110.
Vargas was dropped in the opening seconds of the second round, but he hurt –– and dropped –– Khan right on the bell at the end of the same round, courtesy of a right hand over the top.
Khan was slightly unsteady at the beginning of the third, but he recovered well from the knockdown to drop Vargas –– albeit dubiously –– once more.
In the middle rounds, Khan was caught with a trio of shots by the Colombian-born man and was saved by the bell again in the final quarter of the fight.
But he got the win at the end of it and now wants to move on to bigger and better things.
“It was far tougher than I expected, that fight,” Khan said afterwards. “I wanted to get the experience, get the rounds and pick the shots.
“There were times in the fight that I could have stopped him, but I stepped off him and if I want to fight the likes of your Manny Pacquiaos and the Kell Brooks, I have to do the rounds.
“It felt amazing to get the rounds in and I’m ready to fight whoever. I want the biggest fights and that’s where I belong.
“I’ll have some time off, spend some time with my family and then sit down and chat with promoter Eddie Hearn about the fight.”
Khan insisted that the fight with Brook must take place at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, but Brook is the WBC Silver champion at 154lbs after he moved up.
“Amir Khan has made it clear that he wants the fight with Kell Brook,” promoter Hearn said. “We’ve listened to the public and Kell wants the fight, but we’ll sit down in the next few weeks after he’s had some rest and I think we’re in danger of losing that fight if it doesn’t happen next.
“If it’s not the next one, it’ll never happen.”
Kell Brook said afterwards that he will “come back down to welterweight and show him what’s what.”