Amir Khan Targets Big Names After Shanghai Success

After earning the “biggest and most impressive win” of his careerAmir Khan is targeting his next move in ONE Championship.

The Singaporean star submitted former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario with a first-round rear-naked choke at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON in Shanghai, China, on 8 September.

In doing so, he snapped his opponent’s five-bout winning streak – the longest in the lightweight division – and set the record for the most wins and finishes in the organization’s history in the process.

It was a performance he believes confirmed his standing among his peers.

“I think I showed everyone that I’m ready for the title shot at any time. It just depends on the matchmakers,” he says.

Shinya Aoki and Ev Ting are set to clash for the top contender’s spot at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES on 6 October, and the winner will be booked to challenge for the ONE Lightweight World Championship currently held by Martin Nguyen in Japan on 31 March next year.

In the meantime, Khan has targeted ONE: HEART OF THE LION on 9 November for his next match. Though it is less than two months away, he is uninjured after a quick night’s work in China.

As for his opponent, the 23-year-old wants to face any athlete who can help to push him on towards a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Title while he waits for the congestion at the top of the division to clear.

“I think I would like to face Ariel Sexton, Eduard Folayang, or even a rematch with Timofey Nastyukhin, depending on the outcome of his next bout,” he says.

“I want to fight one of them to improve my case even more, and I’ll be looking for a dominant finish.”

Khan met Nastyukhin at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD in February, but he could not match the Russian’s aggressive approach, falling to a defeat via unanimous decision.

However, in his two bouts since that encounter, the improvements in his game have been clear – and they are likely to continue thanks to the arrival of Eduardo Pamplona as head coach at Evolve – meaning he is confident ahead of a possible rematch.

However, Nastyukhin would have to pass the test posed by Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES on Saturday, 22 September, first.

If he does not, Khan would be more than willing to step in the cage with the Turkish phenom, instead.

“I would love to face him. He’s a young fighter like me, he’s very aggressive and fun to watch,” he says.

“I think our styles would clash, and I’ll be looking to fight him if he can get through Timofey.”