Terence Crawford and Amir Khan to Battle for Welterweight Supremacy on Inaugural PPV under Top Rank on ESPN Banner
Published: January 15, 2019
(Jan. 15, 2019) — ESPN and Top Rank today announced their first pay-per-view event under the Top Rank on ESPN banner. Two kings are set for the year’s most anticipated welterweight showdown when pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford puts his WBO welterweight world title on the line against former unified 140-pound champion and the pride of Bolton, England, Amir “King” Khan, on Saturday, April 20, live on pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT. Details on how fans will be able to access the pay-per-view event will be announced at a later date.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing and Khan Promotions, ticket and venue information will be revealed shortly. Details on the undercard will be announced soon.
“The Crawford-Khan showdown is a very interesting matchup of two elite fighters,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Khan, when fighting at welterweight, is as good as there is, but he is fighting the division’s best fighter and a pound-for-pound great. It will be an entertaining and competitive fight. We are also excited to join forces with ESPN on our first pay-per-view venture under the Top Rank on ESPN agreement.”
“It’s always been my goal to fight the best fighters out there, and I look at Amir Khan as one of the top fighters in my division,” Crawford said. "I know some people are writing him off, but I am by no means overlooking him. He’s a former unified world champion, and come April 20, I’ll be looking to go out there to seek and destroy. I’m excited about this fight because I believe it can push my career to another level.”
“I’m delighted to announce a much-anticipated world title fight with Terence Crawford, the current WBO welterweight world champion,” Khan said. “The decision as to fighting Kell Brook or Crawford has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career to date. Clearly, the UK fans want to see Khan vs. Brook, but I could not turn down the opportunity to fight for the WBO title. That is not to say that the Brook fight won't happen, as I want that fight to happen as soon as possible. Fighting a world champion won't be easy, but this is exactly the challenge I need at this stage of my career. I am fully motivated and ready for the best training camp of my life. Crawford is beatable, and I want that WBO title. It's going to be one hell of a fight.”
"There has been a lot of speculation regarding Amir's next fight, but the lure to trying to win another world title was too much to turn down, and now he faces arguably the number one welterweight in the world in Terence Crawford,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “It's a fight he believes he can win, and on his night, Amir has all the speed and skills to beat the very best. I believe it will be a fascinating and dramatic matchup."
“Showcasing Crawford-Khan as the first pay-per-view event under the Top Rank on ESPN banner is truly a cause for celebration. Crawford is a world champion, a global phenomenon and perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and Khan is a fighter that everyone wants to see every time he steps in the ring. This is what boxing needs, more big-name showdowns, and this fight is a perfect example of the vision that we had when we teamed up with Top Rank,” added ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, Burke Magnus.
Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), from Omaha, Neb., is ranked by many experts as the world’s best fighter, a switch-hitting dynamo who has reigned supreme in three weight classes. He won the WBO lightweight world title on March 1, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, dethroning hometown hero Ricky Burns via unanimous decision. Crawford proved his lightweight supremacy that year with a thrilling ninth-round TKO win over then-undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa and a near-shutout decision victory over Ray Beltran.
Crawford made history when he unified all four 140-pound titles, punctuating his dominance over the division with a third-round knockout against Julius Indongo on Aug. 19, 2017. With nothing left to prove at 140 pounds, Crawford moved up to welterweight. In his first bout at the weight, he knocked out Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn in the ninth round to win the WBO crown. For his first welterweight title defense, Crawford returned home to the CHI Health Center Omaha and knocked out bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. in the 12th round in front of 13,323 passionate fans.
Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) burst into the public consciousness at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens when, at 17 years of age, he captured a silver medal for Great Britain. He won the WBA super lightweight world title on July 18, 2009, outclassing Andreas Kotelnik to win a unanimous decision. He made five successful title defenses at 140 pounds and became unified champion when he knocked out IBF ruler Zab Judah in five rounds in 2011.
Khan has won seven of eight bouts since December 2012, the lone blemish coming when he moved up in weight to fight middleweight world champion Canelo Álvarez. After boxing well in the early rounds, Khan was knocked out with an overhand right in the sixth round. Following the Álvarez defeat, Khan took a nearly two-year sabbatical from the ring, returning in 2018 with a vengeance. In April, he blasted out Phil Lo Greco in 39 seconds, and in September, he notched a wide 12-round points victory over perennial contender Samuel Vargas. More than 13 years since turning professional, Khan will take on the pound-for-pound king in a legacy-defining superfight.
(Featured Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)