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Amir Khan to fight Phil Lo Greco in return to ring

Amir Khan, ready to return to the ring for his first fight in nearly two years, will take on Phil Lo Greco in a welterweight bout on April 21 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Monday.

Khan, a former unified junior welterweight world titleholder and longtime welterweight contender, jumped up two weight classes to challenge Canelo Alvarez for the middleweight title in May 2016 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and although Khan boxed and moved well in the early going, he eventually succumbed to Alvarez's massive power.

Khan (31-4, 19 KOs), 31, with a reputation for a poor chin thanks to rough knockout loss in three of his losses, suffered a massive one-punch knockout loss in the sixth round and has not fought since. Recently, Khan signed a three-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing with the plan to return this spring and to fight again in his native England, where he has not boxed since a unanimous decision win over former lightweight world titleholder Julio Diaz in 2013.

Khan's deal could culminate in a long-awaited all-British rivalry showdown with former welterweight titlist Kell Brook, who is also promoted by Matchroom Boxing. But first Khan must get back in the groove against Lo Greco.

"I can't wait to get back into the ring on April 21 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool," Khan said. "Phil Lo Greco will be coming with everything to win this fight and I'm not going to give him an inch. He's an aggressive fighter who is always looking to press the fight and come forward. That makes for a very exciting and action-packed fight for the fans.

"He's shared the ring with the likes of (Errol) Spence Jr. and (Shawn) Porter, so he's operated at the highest level. I respect him as a fighter and know he will be coming with big ambitions but I'm going to put on a great performance and prove to the boxing world that the 'King' is well and truly back."

Indeed, Lo Greco (28-3, 15 KOs), 33, of Toronto, has experience against quality opponents but has lost both times he stepped up his opposition level. In 2013, he faced Porter, a former welterweight world titleholder, and got knocked down in a near-shutout 10-round decision loss. In 2015, when Spence, who is now a welterweight world titleholder and rising pound-for-pound talent, blew out Lo Greco by third-round knockout.

Lo Greco's other defeat was a 10-round unanimous decision loss to Joseph Elegele, a one-time prospect. Lo Greco has won one fight since, an eight-rounder against a journeyman opponent in June.

"Being my first fight in the U.K., I'm excited about the crowd," Lo Greco said. "I can't wait to feel that energy. As much as U.K. fans love their fighters, they love great fights and I promise just that. This night will go down as one of the best fights ever in the U.K.

"I'm happy Amir decided to yank up his skirt and end his long-going tea party. It was time he manned up. I've got a full training camp this time around. There will be no room for error. Amir Khan will be knocked out. Boxing teaches us, history repeats itself. Once you're knocked out cold, it only gets worse."

Khan and Lo Greco are scheduled to meet face to face at a news conference on Tuesday in Liverpool.

The card will also feature Sean Dodd (15-2-1, 3 KOs) defending his Commonwealth lightweight title against Tommy Coyle (23-4, 11 KOs).

Author: Dan Rafael, ESPN

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