Amir Khan feels like he has something to prove to the world on Friday, 22 November.
The young lion makes his return to action against Malaysian-Kiwi sensation Ev “E.T.” Ting at ONE: EDGE OF GREATNESS from the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and he wants to show everyone that he is still one of the top lightweights on the ONE Championship roster.
Khan had a rough year, as he fell short of his own expectations in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix. However, he is hoping to close 2019 in style by defeating Ting in their upcoming co-main event battle.
Before these two meet in the ring on Friday, the 25-year-old Singaporean talks about the lessons he has learned over the course of the year, why “E.T.” will be a good test, and so much more.
ONE Championship: Your upcoming bout against Ev Ting was made under pretty unique circumstances — there was a call-out on social media. Tell us your side of the story.
Amir Khan: It’s not really a big story. One or two years ago, we wanted to fight each other and we were supposed to fight each other, but things didn’t happen. So recently, I just thought it would make perfect sense for us to fight each other.
Among anyone else in the division, I think we both make a good match-up. He commented [on Instagram] that he would like to face me and then I just replied, ‘Yeah, why not?’ After that, [the matchmakers] sent out the contract.
ONE: Both of you were in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, but did not reach the tournament final. With that in mind, what do you want to prove in this bout?
AK: I want to prove that I belong because right now, I’m coming off a losing streak, so a lot of people are doubting me. Not only to everyone, but I just want to prove to myself that I am a top-level [mixed martial artist], and I can come back and rise again.
ONE: What have you learned from those recent losses?
AK: I just learned to be more patient. I feel like I was rushing and that I was more focused on the outcome rather than the fight. I would be looking at what happens after the fight, like I’m going to celebrate, I want to win, and how I feel after the fight. I was focusing on that instead of the fight itself.
Right now, whatever I can control, I am just going to focus on that, which is my training, my preparation, and how I fight. Whatever happens after that, I don’t — or try not to — think about it right now.
ONE: Let’s talk more about Ting. What do you view as his strengths?
AK: I think he likes to fight in the pocket, so I have to keep my range. For me, as a range fighter, I need to keep the range throughout the fight because he is good at closing the distance. It’s good to practice and test myself against such a fighter in such situations.
I haven’t fully mastered my range, so I feel it will be a good test for me to challenge myself against someone like Ev Ting because he is one of the best guys in the lightweight division to get in close to people.
ONE: Is there anything, in particular, you are training and working on at Evolve?
AK: I have been working a lot on my strategy for this fight, like specific strategies. I’m going to go into this fight trying to fight my game, so I’m not going to play with his rules and I’m not going to be where he is comfortable at.
I won’t tell you what I’m working on, but I’m just going to be in positions that he is not comfortable at — not just in striking, but overall mixed martial arts. My game plan is just to make him uncomfortable.
ONE: How are you feeling physically and mentally ahead of your match?
AK: Physically and mentally, I feel good. I got five or six months since my last fight, so I had a lot of time to analyze and work on certain things.
Right now, especially mentally, I’m at the best I can be. I’m not distracted. I’m super focused, and I know what I have to do to get the victory.
ONE: What do you expect of yourself in this match?
AK: I expect to come out as a winner, and I want to get a good win. I don’t just want a one-punch knockout — I want to show my skills all-around. I want to have one or two rounds with him and showcase my skills throughout.
I just need to be patient, not rush to anything, and not use too much energy for no reason other than to display my skills at the best level. I will still go for the finish, but I’m not thinking about it. I’m sure I will get it, but I am not really too focused on that. I am just focused on displaying my skills.