It’ll be a Right Royal Rumble when former Thai-boxing world champion Imran Khan makes his professional boxing debut on Saturday night at Don Valley Stadium.
Welterweight Khan, aged 30, from Walkley is on a strong card including Reagan Denton, Nicki Smedley and Kyle Whitham.
But it is the debut of Khan, which is likely to attract attention after a stellar Thai career, which saw him claim a version of the world title in 2006 and 2007.
Now fully committed to the noble art he admits he can’t wait to step inside the ring to take on the city’s Dale Hutchinson.
He said: “I’ve always loved boxing and everything about it. I’ve followed it since I was little watching all the fights I could and reading about the great boxers. Training has been going well with Glyn Rhodes and Reagan Denton; I just want it to happen now.”
The switch from the Muay-Thai to the traditional boxing code has provided its own set of challenges for Khan.
He said: “Boxing is a lot more tactical with more emphasis put on defence - Thai is a lot more aggressive. I’m getting used to the footwork part of it and not going on an all-out attack straightaway.”
Meanwhile, young boxing star Dalton Smith has taken another step on his promising amateur career.
Just weeks after winning the British title, 14-year-old Smith, a City school pupil, won gold in an England vest as he stopped Wales’ Levi Griffith in the second round at the Manchester Boxing Centre of Excellence in the 44kg category.
His next big test is in July when he represents his country at the European Championships in Grozny, Chechnya.
Dad, Grant Smith, said: “We’re very proud him. Hopefully I can travel to see him fight. He’s working very hard and deserves all his success.”