SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND, February 28 - After nearly two years fighting away from England, the "King" is back. On Saturday, April 27 at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, British superstar Amir "King" Khan returns to England to face former World Champion Julio "The Kidd" Diaz.
Plus, 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Anthony Ogogo makes his long-awaited professional debut in a four round middleweight bout against an opponent to be determined.
"April 27th is going to be a special night," said Khan. "It's been two years since I last fought in the United Kingdom and I can't wait to get in the ring in front of my fans. Julio Diaz is a former World Champion and a very dangerous opponent who is coming off of an impressive performance in his last fight. I know he will be coming with guns blazing and I'm ready for whatever he has to throw at me. With my speed and boxing skills, and his power and experience, it makes for a really exciting matchup. He may have other ideas but I'm adamant that my return to the British shores is going to be a very successful one."
"I'm not going to England for the fight to go to the scorecards. I'm fighting for the knockout," said Diaz. "I know the knockout is the only thing that will get me the win, so I'm training extra hard already in order to get a victory on Khan's home turf. I'm a heavy hitter and he can't take a punch, so to me, that is the perfect combination."
"I'm proud to be British and so the opportunity to turn pro on such a big fight card in England is a dream come true," said Ogogo. "I want to become a world champion and this is the first very important step. I know what I have to do and that is to win and I want to win in style. I can't wait to show the British public what I can do and will be training as hard as I possibly can between now and April 27th to get myself in the best shape I've ever been in".
"Return of the King": Khan vs. Diaz is a 12 round 143 pound catch-weight bout presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Khan Promotions and sponsored by JD Sport and Maxi Muscle.
Tickets, priced at £300, £200, £125, £75 and £50 plus applicable taxes and service charges are on sale now and may be purchased at the Motorpoint Arena box office, by calling (+44) 0114 256 5656, online at www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk or through Sports Corporation by calling 0845 163 0845 or at www.sportscorporation.com.
"We're excited to return to England and bring the loyal British fans the return of Amir Khan on April 27," said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. "Amir is closing in on a shot at regaining his world champion status and I know he's going to use the energy from the crowd in Sheffield to motivate him. Standing in his way will be a dangerous opponent in Julio Diaz who is on a hot streak of his own that he expects to keep intact in England."
"April 27 is going to be a great night for boxing in the U.K. and a great night for Golden Boy Promotions," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "Between Amir Khan returning home where he is immensely popular and the pro debut of our newest prospect Anthony Ogogo, this is a great way to jump start an amazing run of fights that Golden Boy Promotions will be a part of in England for many years to come."
"It was well known that Amir wanted to have his next fight back home in Britain for his loyal fan base," said Asif Vali of Khan Promotions. "It has taken a bit of time to get to this point, but we're delighted to announce Julio Diaz as his next opponent. He upset the odds to score a draw in his last fight against a highly touted prospect in Shawn Porter and we know he will be looking to upset the odds and score a win come April 27. Both fighters have been world champions and Amir is determined to reach that summit once again. It will be a night not to miss in Sheffield as we witness 'the return of the King'."
"Motorpoint Arena Sheffield is delighted to be playing host to Amir Khan's return to Britain," said Joe Waldron, Deputy General Manager of the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield. "We host some of the biggest stars in the world in this region and it's a privilege to have secured another in Amir with his first fight back on British soil in two years. This event will be a special occasion for all boxing fans and the Sheffield public with yet another unforgettable night expected at the Motorpoint Arena."
A true international superstar that captured the world's imagination when he won a Silver medal for Great Britain in the 2004 Olympics at age 17, Amir "King" Khan (27-3, 19 KO's) is one of boxing's best, a dynamic boxer-puncher with fight ending power and lightning quick speed. Just 26 years old, Bolton's Khan is a former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion with five successful title defenses to his name. Among the foes he has dispatched are Marco Antonio "The Baby Face Assassin" Barrera, Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi, Marcos "El Chino" Maidana and Zab "Super" Judah. In his most recent fight on December 15, 2012, he stopped previously unbeaten Carlos Molina in the 10th round. Now he looks forward to returning home and entertaining his fans in person.
A respected veteran and former World Champion Julio "The Kidd" Diaz (40-7-1, 29 KO's) is a member of a fighting family and he has been boxing for much of his life. Diaz is still in his physical prime at 33 and he has shown that he has plenty left in the tank as he looks to win a second divisional title. A native of Jiquilpan, Michoacan Mexico who now fights out of Coachella, California, Diaz has impressed fans in his return from a year-long layoff, knocking out Henry Aurad and Hector Sanchez and battling unbeaten, highly touted prospect Shawn Porter to a draw in a fight many believe Diaz won in his last fight in December. On April 27, Diaz is hoping to take matters out of the judges' hands.
A talented soccer player who played for Norwich City FC when he was younger, Lowestoft, England's Anthony Ogogo found his true love in the ring where he has been competing since the age of 12. After winning a Junior Olympic Gold medal and Silver medals at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, Ogogo earned a place on Great Britain's 2012 Olympic team. In London this past summer, Ogogo beat representatives from the Dominican Republic, Ukraine and Germany to win a Bronze Medal, thrilling his fans from throughout the United Kingdom. Outside the ring, the 24-year-old Ogogo is a former model and was also a cast member of the 2008 hit reality show, "Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack." On April 27, the charismatic middleweight will begin his journey as a professional.