Imran Khan had a tough start to the year; having spent a short time focussing on his boxing career, Imran made his move back to Muay Thai with a thrilling fight against the stunning Andrei Kulebin, which, despite his best efforts, didn’t go Khan’s way. This was followed with a hotly anticipated rematch against current World Champion, Tim Thomas, with both fighters having claimed victory in their last bout. A sterling first three rounds from Khan were given away to the champion in the fourth and fifth, with Tim Thomas proving just why he has the belts. After this crushing defeat, there were hushed whispers that Khan was through – fat chance. Now training with the world famous Bad Company Gym in Leeds, Khan is looking as dangerous as ever. After a cracking warm up fight against the Portuguese Miguel Varela, Imran is now set to take to the world stage once again, with what is set to be a thrilling match up against the very dangerous Josh Palmer, at Showdown 12 this November. We caught up with Khan to see how he’s shaping up for the bout.
What have you learnt from your last three fights?
What happened was I had a transition into boxing. When I came back I fought Andrei Kulebin, he’s an A-list fighter, and it was a privilege to fight him, I’m thankful that Showdown Events brought him in because he’s not a fighter it’s easy to get hold of. I did really well against him, people have said otherwise - I called the fight and I know that I delivered, but it went against me in the end. Then I had my rematch against Tim Thomas, again Showdown Events delivering the goods, getting in the World Champion, so he’s no mug. The first time I fought him I thought I’d won, but it was called a draw. This time when I fought, I was winning until the fourth, then Tim caught me with a good shot and finished it off in round five. After that, I went back to the drawing board, talked to my coach and talked to Showdown. I had a warm up fight against this guy, Miguel, the Portuguese champion, I was really happy with my performance, and if you watch it back, you can see that I’ve still got it in the bag.
After your loss to Tim Thomas, some people were saying that it was career over, but now you’ve got another fight coming up against a good, schooled fighter, Josh Palmer. Where do you see yourself going from here?
I don’t honestly know that much about Josh Palmer, but from what I’ve heard about him, it sounds like he’s the bees knees. Like you said he’s a well schooled fighter and he’s been in the game a long time, he’s fought some big names and I think he can cause a lot of problems for me, so the last thing I’m going to do is take the fight lightly. I’m looking forward to the challenge, Showdown always put, on a good show and are good at match-making, so I know it’s going to be a good fight.
How have you started training for the fight?
Obviously we’ve just come to the end of Ramadan, which is a blessed month for all Muslims, but I’ve been working hard, I’ve been training every day without fail, an hour or two hours after the last prayer at night. So I’ve stayed in shape and kept my weight down, the only thing I feel I’ve been missing really is running, and maybe a little bit more sparring, but those are the kind of things that I will incorporate over the last few weeks in camp.
Has your training changed at all since your loss to Tim Thomas?
Training with Bad Company has really made me pick up my game. When I fought Tim Thomas, you could see I was caught off guard and he was very powerful. There are things like plyometrics that I should have been incorporating into my training but I’ve learnt from that now and working with Bad Company has really improved my training.
Does it give you more confidence now, training with Bad Company?
Yeah, definitely, they’re a good bunch of lads, Richard Smith has been great and he really knows what he’s doing, he’s dealt with some of the best up and coming fighters. The team at Bad Company have really brought me forward leaps and bounds; it’s amazing, 32 and still learning.
What have you achieved so far in your career?
I’ve managed to fight some of the very best fighters out there. I’ve held two world titles, I fought for one in Sheffield, the WPKC and then I fought for the Golden Belt World Title in Bangkok. I’ve fougt many of the world’s top ten fighters and fought in some great venues worldwide. Fighting against Tim Thomas was a great achievement because of what he has gone on to achieve, which puts our fights in perspective.
He’s now got two world titles at 67 kilos, do you think there is any chance of you challenging for one of those titles next year?
I’d love to fight Tim Thomas, even if it wasn’t for a world title. He always causes a threat, and to challenge him, and try and pick apart his game is always a good fight.
Are there any other UK fighters that you’d be interested in fighting at that weight?
I like to fight the best out there. When you’re fighting against the best fighters out there, there’s always some way to benefit from it, win or lose, they develop your game and make you a better fighter.