Indian boxer and current WBC Asia champion Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2) is all set to take on former two-time world champion from the United Kingdom, Amir Khan (33-5-0) on July 12, 2019, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.
The specially commissioned World Boxing Council Pearl Welterweight Championship will be on the line for this mega fight that involves Amir Khan who traces his origin back to Pakistan and Indian boxing sensation Neeraj Goyat. Now off the cricket field, the sporting rivalry is now on the boxing ring as well.
The rise of Neeraj Goyat in boxing has been phenomenal. Having turned professional at the age of 19 and he has competed all around the world. He has had professional bouts in Thailand, Korea, China, Mexico and his last two fights were in Canada.
The big breakthrough for Goyat came back in August of 2017 when he got the opportunity to showcase his boxing brilliance to millions of people live on prime time sports network on the undercard of superstar Vijender Singh and Zulipikaer Maimaitiali. Now against Amir Khan, there’s even a bigger task at hand. This fight will be broadcasted live around the world. A win could mean bigger paydays, multifold increase in popularity and possibly even a chance to fight for the world title.
MMA India Show had the opportunity to get an exclusive interview with Neeraj Goyat who was excited about his upcoming fight.
Q. Under which circumstances were these fights offered to you? How was your reaction?
We were already in talks for this fight for a while now and there were a lot of talks about the weight class in which the fight was supposed to take place and ultimately it was decided that we will both fight on the welterweight limit. I am excited about this fight, this will be a history in the making as I am getting the opportunity to fight with a big named opponent and this fight will take professional boxing to a whole another level.
Q. How do you see this fight ending? Will the fight go the distance or is somebody going down on the canvas?
I have not sure about the ending as anything can happen inside the ring, however, when I look at our fighting styles I believe this fight will go full twelve rounds. Amir is a defensive fighter and I am also a defensive fighter, so I think this will go the distance.
Q. Were you able to watch Amir Khan’s last fight against Terence Crawford, If yes then what did you think about his performance?
Yeah, I only watched a little as I couldn’t get the chance to watch the whole fight. I was fighting on the same date in Canada at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto against Carlos Lopez Marmolejo.
Q. How many Indian fans do you expect to see in Saudi Arabia? Are you expecting full support from Indians living over there?
If it was possible, I would ask the whole country to go with me. This is a very big fight and history in the making and I am going to going to make my country proud.
Q. If you beat Amir Khan in Jeddah, what would be your next move? What do you think about the current state of the 147-pound division?
After fighting Khan, I would move down to lower weight class and compete at Junior welterweight limit because according to my weight and power, I feel that the 140-pound weight class is the best for me. As for the current state of the welterweight division goes, there isn’t anyone like Floyd Mayweather. There are good fighters, but none can match Floyd’s level.
Q. There’s another fight taking place a week after yours between Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman, who do you think wins that bout?
First of all Manny Pacquiao is my favourite fighter. As a person, I like him very much and as a boxer, I respect him tremendously for what he has done inside the ring and achieved in the sport. So I will be rooting for Manny Pacquiao.
Q. Growing up which fighter did you look up to for inspiration?
As a kid growing up, I was a big Mike Tyson fan, however most of the time I watch Floyd Mayweather as I like his fighting style very much.
Q. Are you going to be training in India or abroad for this fight?
I will be training in India only. Like my previous fights, I will be training in the Army Sports Institute in Pune, Maharashtra.
Q. There is a press conference scheduled to take place in Karachi as well, are you going to attend that to promote your fight?
There is a press conference in Karachi, but I am not attending that. I have told this yesterday in Delhi press conference also that as a fighter I will be competing against Amir Khan, and this will improve diplomatic relations between both India and Pakistan. However, the Indian government has issues with Pakistan, so I am standing with my government and will not be attending the press conference in Karachi.
This mega fight is endorsed by the Saudi General Sports Authority and will take place during Saudi Seasons that will run from 8 June-19 July that aims to transform the Kingdom into one of the most important tourist destinations in the world.