Amir Khan v Neeraj Goyat: Briton says Saudi Arabia bout was obvious choice

Khan will face Goyat in Saudi Arabia on 12 July
Khan will face Goyat in Saudi Arabia on 12 July

Amir Khan says he "would be stupid" not to fight in a lucrative bout in Saudi Arabia, despite widespread concerns over the country's human rights record.

Khan, 32, faces unheralded Indian Neeraj Goyat in Jeddah on 12 July and will earn a reported £7m.

Amnesty International have criticised the "abysmal" human rights of the country and implored Khan to go "with his eyes firmly open".

"When I was there last it had all changed," said Khan.

"I started seeing women not wearing head scarves. Women were out driving," added the former world champion.

"They had a huge concert where everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves. I'd never seen that side of Saudi Arabia before.

"Maybe now they are changing to make it that new place where people can enjoy themselves and it's fair for women. I think they're trying to change now.

"They are throwing a lot of money on to the table and at the end of the day we are prizefighters. For me, I would be stupid to not take this opportunity."

'Losing would destroy me'

Jeddah hosted September's final of the World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight tournament, as Britain's Callum Smith beat George Groves.

Saudi Arabia has undertaken a project known as Vision 2030 to aid a transition away from a largely oil-dependent economy.

This has seen WWE hold a televised stadium show in the country, while Formula E has signed a 10-year race deal in the region.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, is expected to attend the King Abdullah Sports City bout, where Khan will face former mixed martial arts fighter Goyat, 27.

Goyat has 11 wins, three draws and two defeats on his record and is Khan's first opponent since being controversially stopped by WBO world welterweight champion Terence Crawford in April.

Khan will work with new trainers Alex Ariza and former WBA world super-bantamweight champion Clarence 'Bones' Adams for the bout, a move which brings to an end his working relationship with Virgil Hunter.

"I never think about losing but losing this fight would definitely destroy me and make him a big name," Khan said.

"Things can go wrong, and we all saw what happened with Anthony Joshua getting knocked out by a fighter people thought he'd destroy, so that's why I have to bring my top game. I can't afford to make any mistakes."

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