A winner of eight consecutive fights, four of them by knockout, Khan debuted in America with an 11th-round knockout of New York native Paulie Malignaggi in May of last year at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
When the fight was over, Khan had won the approval of the roaring crowd of more than 4,412 that filled Madison Square Garden’s 5,000 capacity Theater, having vanquished Malignaggi before his own hometown crowd.
Khan believes he can achieve similar results against Peterson.
“Yes, I think we can. I’ve got a style that people love, and when they see me in real life, they see the speed, they see the power, they see the explosive style,” said Khan. “I’m sure they will take a liking in my style and hopefully they can start following me.”
Khan was invited to Washington on Sept. 10 , the eve of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, where he was a guest of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a dinner honoring prominent Muslim-American athletes.
“I was there not long ago in Washington, D.C., and you see that they are big boxing fans over there and they’ve not had a big boxing fight there for such a long time,” said Khan. “So we just want to bring boxing back to the capital and put on a good performance for them.”
Khan-Peterson will be the first boxing event in Washington since Kevin McBride ended Mike Tyson’s career with a sixth-round stoppage in June of 2005, and it brings HBO to the Nation’s Capitol for the first time since Riddick Bowe defended his WBA heavyweight belt with a second-round knockout of Jesse Ferguson on May 22, 1993.
“When I went there the first time, it was amazing enough to see so many people who knew who I was. I mean, everywhere I would go, they knew exactly who I was and what I did, and they’d been following my boxing career,” said Khan.
“It was just nice to see that. When we came back and we spoke to [Golden Boy Promotions CEO] Richard [Schaefer] and Golden Boy Promotions President] Oscar [De La Hoya,] and we said maybe it’s a good idea to fight in Washington, D.C., and we all agreed with it and that’s where the fight is.”
Khan made his second appearance on American soil in December of last year, scoring a unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, this, after having dropped Maidana in the first round and survived a treacherous 10th where he was nearly knocked out.
Khan had his third fight in the United States in July, dethroning Zab Judah as IBF titleholder by fifth-round stoppage at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
“I mean, that’s one thing about me. All my life, I’ve been fighting away from home. I train away from home and I’ve kind of got used to it. I win fans over and that’s what I love doing. I mean, the best fight in the world are doing what I’ve done,” said Khan.
“You look at Manny Pacquaio. He lives in the Philippines. but he chooses to come to America and train and also fight away from home and to fight in different states. I want to do the same thing that he is doing.”
Judging by the reaction he received when he visited Clinton in Washington, Khan believes that he will take yet another major city American city by storm.
“I really think going into this fight, even though the fight is in Lamont Peterson’s backyard, I really think we will have more support than him,” said Khan.
“There are a lot of fans coming from New York and close states near Washington. I really think that we’ll have a bigger fan base.”
Photos by Delane Rouse
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org