At the end of May it was revealed that little known Indian fighter Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2) would take on British-Pakistani fighter Amir Khan (33-5, 20), in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 12th. The bout looked odd from the moment it was announced, then got weirder when the WBC Pearl title was confirmed for the bout.
Now however that bout is off, with Goyat suffering an injury in an automobile accident. It didn't take long however for Khan's team to secure a replacement for Goyat, plugging former Featherweight world champion Billy Dib (45-5-0-2, 26).
Dib, who was actually pencilled in for the card anyway for a bout with Carlos Lopez (28-9, 9), really doesn't make for an appealing opponent. Dib had his best days at 126lbs, not the 147lbs where this bout will be taking place.
Although Dib does hold some name value, though not a huge amount, it does feel very much like they looked down the card at who else was on the show and saw Dib as the most viable option at such short notice, even if Dib wouldn't make for an interesting fight.
Regardless of what we all think of the fight, and of the likely fact this show will be little more than a propaganda event for the Saudi Arabian government, it is worth noting that the card will get a lot of interest. Not only does it have Khan but will also feature unbeaten Filipino prospect Dave Penalosa (15-0, 11), outspoken English Bantamweight Prince Patel (19-0-1, 14) and a clash between Heavyweight contender Hughie Fury (22-2, 12) and former Heavyweight title holder Samuel Peter (38-7, 31).
Boxing is full of weird stories, and we get a weird bout announced almost monthly now a days.
The latest of those was announced today, and will see little known Indian fighter Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2) take on British-Pakistani fighter Amir Khan (33-5, 20), in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The bout came a little bit out of the blue, though is a major bout, and the latest sporting chapter in the often intense India Vs Pakistan sporting rivalry, that has been dominated by cricket.
Khan is the much, much, much more well known fighter. He is a 2000 Olympic silver medal winner, a multi-time world champion a fighter who has faced a who's who, including Terence Crawford, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Zab Judah, Devon Alexander, Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana and Marco Antonio Barrera. At his best he a fantastic fighter, though he was dominated last time out by Terence Crawford, back in March and is 2-2 in his last 4. At 32 years old he is seen as a fighter very much on the slide.
Goyat on the other hand is one of the more notable professional fighters from India, with experience of fighting in China, Thailand, India, Korea, Mexico and Canada. Although of of the biggest names in Indian boxing he hasn't managed to really become a star, and is well behind the popularity of Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan and amateurs stars like Amit Panghal. At the age of 27 however there is time for him to break out, and a win over Khan would seriously put him on the map.
Interestingly this bout is slated to be for the WBC Pearl title, a belt that appears to have been made just so the WBC can claim another sanctioning fee in a bout worth millions, in fact Khan is said to be getting around £7,000,000 for the bout. The bout will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, will explain the huge purse for Khan, for taking on such an unknown foe,
At the moment the Asian Amateur Championships are going on and Indian fight fans are certainly showing a lot of interest in that. It's worth noting however that it's not just Indian amateur fighters having success, but also professionals, and yesterday two notable Indian pro's picked up wins in the west.
The most promising of those fighters was former amateur standout Vikas Krishan (2-0, 1), who took a 6 round decision win over 23 year old American fighter Noah Kidd (3-2-1, 2).
Vikas's win, which came on the under-card of Terence Crawford's victory over Amir Khan, was a near shut out victory for the "Indian Tank", who was dominant but will feel disappointed to have not scored a stoppage. To his credit Kidd came to win, but lacked the skills to really test Vikas, who pressed the fight through out and was well deserving of the win.
For fans wanting to watch Vikas's bout it can be seen in the below video, starting about 41 minutes in.
As well as Vikas' win it was also a successful night for Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2), who took a 6 round decision over Carlos Lopez Marmolejo (9-7-1, 5) in Ontario, Canada. This was Goyat's second win in Canada, coming after his Canadian debut last September, and was a step up in class from his last bout. Saying that however Marmolejo is no star, and the 40 year old had been stopped in 4 prior defeats, including 3 of his previous 6.
On Friday night Indian fighter Neeraj Goyat (10-3-2, 2) made his Canadian debut, in his first bout as a Lee Baxter Promotions fighter. The talented Indian hopeful was facing off with Mexican foe Ernesto Cardona Sanchez (3-5, 3) and took a 4 round decision victory.
The Indian is the WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title, though that title wasn't on the line.
Goyat boxed well for the most part, showed a touch of excitement and flair, but did admit that he was glads to be back after a big of a break. Apparently he had twice had to cancel bouts in Canada prior to this one due to logistical issues, but it's clear that he is happy to have got the ball rolling and get on with things on Canadian soil
Goyat's win saw him him bouncing back from a June loss in Mexico against Sergio Daniel Moreno Martinez. As for Sanchez this was a was a second loss in 3 bouts, and showed that he really is as limited as his record suggests.
Prior to this bout Goyat has signed a relatively big money deal with Lee Baxter Promotions, and with this win he has began the relationship well. It's now a case of building on it and progressing his career from this win in to bigger and better bouts.
(Image courtesy of Times of India)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!