18 January 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Paul McCloskey believes he has earned the right to fight world champion Amir Khan and stressed he plans to claim the WBA light welterweight belt and not just a substantial pay day if he gets a Spring title tilt.
The Dungiven stylist has emerged as favourite to challenge boxings latest superstar in an April homecoming fight and is both confident the mega clash will be made and that he will be the victor.
The unbeaten European champion revealed the Bolton natives team have been in contact and are keen to make the mouth watering Irish-English bout. Indeed HBO approval is the only real stumbling block.
McCloskey also refuted claims he isnt worthy of challenging King Khan stressing he is more qualified than first choice opponent Lamont Peterson to make a World title bid.
The 31 year old former Irish amateur champion believes his unblemished 22 fight CV which boasts British and European titles as well as his World ranking are proof he is ready to progress from continental to world level.
Team Khan want the fight, McCloskey told Mirror Sport. Amir has been stating he wants to fight me publicly and said Peterson demands were to much. His representatives are in negotiations with mine. We should know more over the next 48 hours. I am confident the fight can be made.
Khan wants to come back and fight in England and there is no one better to fight than me. There are few with better world title credentials than me. They are talking about Peterson, but I am a place higher than him in the World ranking. He is ranked sixth and I am fifth. I am unbeaten and have earned the right to challenge by winning the British and the European titles. What more can I do? I will prove the doubters wrong and show them why I am qualified when I have Khan in the ring.
Since signing with Golden Boy and setting up residence in the Wild Card Gym, Khan has bounced back from his first round knock out defeat at the gloves of Breidis Prescott to become world Champion.
The fighter, who has made mass improvements under the guidance of Freddie Roach, is now being linked with a showdown with Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and is talking about unifying the light welterweight division.
McCloskey however, believes Khan isnt as good as the hype suggests and is confident he has the tools to unbuckle the WBA strap from around his waist.
The Derry native who is just 12 rounds from boxing superstardom added, Khan has been promoted well and is now a big boxing name, but he is no Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather. He is superstar and well managed, his name got him a world title shot and I understand thats how boxing works but I believe I have worked hard to earn a tilt. I have 100 percent confidence in my ability.
I know I can beat Khan I have the skills to cause him problems. He is talking about unifying the division and that suits me. I just hope he keeps looking beyond me. If he does he will be in for a fright.
If the fight is made it will ensure a sensational Spring for Irish boxing. The McCloskey Khan clash will follow Andy Lee and John Duddys domestic dust up as well as Brian Magee and Willie Caseys world title tilts.