Four months after facing snakes and spiders in an Australian jungle, Amir Khan returns to the limelight in a more comfortable arena determined to end his boxing career on a high.
Khan, a former world champion and an Olympic silver medallist at the 2004 Games, will be back in the ring for the first time since being beaten by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May 2016 when he meets Canadian Phil Lo Greco in Liverpool on Saturday night.
In his time away from the sport, Khan was a contestant on the reality television series ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’, where the general public saw him face his phobias.
Those who witness Khan at the Echo Arena this weekend will see a man more in his element after he agreed a three-fight deal with promoters Matchroom shortly after leaving the jungle.
“It does feel back to business again, and this is the business I love doing,” the 31-year-old said.
“Boxing’s something I’ve been doing all my life. It’s great to be in a position now where I can make it back to the top again.
“I used to be sat ringside watching at fights and be missing the sport thinking, ‘Wow, I want to be back in the ring again’. I want to have my name lit up, big posters up of me, have fans want to see me and cheer me on. I did miss that.
“That was one reason I wanted to come back and finish off with a big bang. I could not finish off with a loss in my career, I have to finish off with a few good wins and then call it a day.
“I’m one of the lucky fighters out there – financially I didn’t have to come back but I’ve chosen to because my body feels in good shape, I still feel in my prime.
“I’ve been absent for such a long time, it’s given me a wake-up call to say, ‘I need to back in the ring again, fighting again, be back in the gym again, get back in shape again and make people proud’.”
His opponent Lo Greco is banking on Khan’s hiatus being costly when they meet in the ring.
The Canadian has also goaded the Bolton-based fighter by suggesting he still has mental scars from the way Alvarez brutally knocked him out in 2016 .
“While Amir was having a lot of success, I was inactive,” Lo Greco said.
“I’ve been a pro since 2006 I’ve had a total of six, seven years of inactivity; it really, really, really puts a lot of hurt in your career when you’re inactive.
“Especially in his last fight, the way it ended, I know it’s been on his mind for a long time.
“A lot of athletes have a tendency to say, ‘I’ve got one more in me’ – from Sugar Ray Leonard to Muhammad Ali to other good fighters that push the envelope.”