Khan finally granted visa to fight in US
Junior welterweight champion Amir Khan was granted a visa Friday and will be allowed to fight in the United States for the first time next weekend.
Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions told The Associated Press on Friday that he received an e-mail notifying him that Khan's application had been approved. Khan is scheduled to face Paulie Malignaggi on May 15 in the smaller theater at Madison Square Garden.
``I did see that the visa is granted,'' Schaefer said. ``Amir is supposedly on his way to L.A.''
Khan, a former British Olympian whose family is of Pakistani descent, had been training at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for several months on a tourist visa. He needed a work visa in order to fight, though, and went to the British consulate in Vancouver, British Columbia, last week in hopes of getting everything resolved.
Roach followed the WBA champion to Canada to keep training, but the uncertainty over the visa application caused anxiety for everyone involved in the show.
Schaefer said he expects Khan to reach New York by Monday for a series of publicity events, and everything that had been scheduled for next week will go on as planned.
The 22-year-old Khan (22-1, 16 KOs) signed with Golden Boy in an attempt to raise his profile in the U.S. He has fought his entire career in Europe, defeating Andriy Kotelnik last fall in England to win his title and defending it against Dmitriy Salita in December.
He's won four straight in impressive fashion since his career took a bump with a knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in one of the biggest upsets of 2008.
Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KOs) certainly represents his most notable opponenent to date.
The former junior welterweight titleholder's resume includes high-profile fights against former titleholders Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. Malignaggi has split his last two fights, losing a close and somewhat controversial decision to Juan Diaz before avenging the loss with a clear unanimous decision in December.
The bout headlines a card that includes the return of former lightweight champion Nate Campbell, who has been out of action since August. He faces Victor Ortiz, a once highly touted prospect who is still working his way back from a one-sided loss to Marcos Maidana last June.