Khan aims to dazzle against McCloskey in Manchester

Amir Khan (left) and Paul McCloskey
Khan (left) and McCloskey will meet at Manchester's MEN Arena

Amir Khan says he will use his world title defence against Paul McCloskey on 16 April to prove he is the best light-welterweight on the planet.

Bolton's Khan, 24, will be making the fourth defence of his WBA crown against Northern Ireland's McCloskey at Manchester's MEN Arena.

And the reward for victory would be a unification bout against WBC and WBO title-holder Tim Bradley in the summer.

"I want to prove to everyone how good Amir Khan is," Khan told BBC Sport.

"Not only in England, but all over the world. So I want to beat McCloskey in better fashion than Bradley beat Devon Alexander [in January, to add the WBC title to the WBO title he already held].

"I'm one step ahead of Bradley, even though he's rated one higher than me [by The Ring magazine] and he's unbeaten.

"That would be a good fight in the future, but first of all I've got McCloskey to take care of and I'm very focused on him."

European champion McCloskey, 31, is unbeaten in 22 fights but has fought largely at domestic level - and Khan believes he has made the step up to world level too soon.

"It's always harder to keep hold of a world title and Paul McCloskey is going to be training very hard to beat me," said Khan, who beat Argentine hardman Marcos Maidana in his last fight in December.

"But I'm not going to let him do that. I always train like a challenger and I'm not going to give anyone a chance.

"I know McCloskey's very awkward but we've been working with a lot of awkward opponents, I'm with the best trainer in the world [Freddie Roach] and I don't think anything can go wrong - I've got McCloskey's number.

"He'll be coming into the fight unbeaten and he's a European champion, but he's not ready for this level, it's too big a step.

"But I'll be treating him like another Maidana, as if he's just as dangerous, so that I don't make any mistakes. I'm going to need to be sharp and on the edge, you can never go into a fight thinking it's going to be easy."

While McCloskey, a southpaw, is expected to provide some awkward moments for the champion, the manner of Khan's victory over the hard-hitting Maidana will make him a heavy favourite.

Khan won by unanimous decision in Las Vegas and in doing so answered lingering questions about his punch resistance, standing up to some massive blows.

Khan was knocked out in less than a minute by Colombia's Breidis Prescott in 2008, leading some observers to write off his career.

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