Amir Khan decided to sign for Matchroom and Eddie Hearn while alone with his thoughts in the jungle of reality television series I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
The welterweight has signed a three-fight contract with a promoter he has long spoken of his dislike for, and will return to the ring after a near two-year absence at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on April 21.
It will also be five years since Khan last fought in the UK, since when Hearn has repeatedly tempted to lure him into a fight with long-term rival Kell Brook, contributing to the tension between them.
Press Association Sport understands that the 31-year-old rejected an offer from ITV to work with Matchroom, which made its approach before his time on reality television late last year.
Khan also dismissed concerns about Hearn having a conflict of interest by also working with Brook, and told Press Association Sport: “I was in the jungle, thinking very hard in there, on my own and not listening to other people, and thinking about where I wanted to be in my life.
“I wanted people to see the real side of me, and then that I wanted to get back on the boxing scene again, make sure I come back with a bang. The only way to do that is with someone established.
“I know for a fact he can get me the big fights. I had a lot of options but wanted my career to be in England, so that’s why I picked Eddie.
“I’ve got two or three years left in me and want the best fights of my career. We decided to put our egos to one side, and start working with one another, and forget about the ‘He said this’. It’s business, isn’t it?”
Asked if he ever envisioned a time when he would work with Matchroom, Khan then responded: “No. It’s a little surreal. Eddie’s good at that and you have to respect him.”
A potential difficulty in making the long sought-after fight between Khan and Brook is that the latter has moved up to light-middleweight, a division seven pounds higher than where Khan will remain.
Confirmation of his return also comes after a period in which he repeatedly spoke of wishing to do so, but had been recovering from an operation on a long-term hand injury and difficulties in his personal life with wife Faryal Makhdoom.
“I’m coming back fresh, with no injuries, with a new promoter.” said Khan, who last fought in May 2016 when he suffered a heavy knockout defeat by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. “I want to fight someone decent; I don’t belong in tune-up fights.
“The hand’s brilliant; there’s no pain there. I’ve had a pain for the last eight years of my career. It always used to hurt me and I always used to fight through it, and it feels a lot better now.”