British boxing star Amir Khan returns to the ring to face unknown Indian boxer Nareej Goyat for the latter’s regional title on July 12, 2019, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The bout will be a little over six weeks after Khan quit in the sixth round of his welterweight title bout against champion Terence Crawford. In that bout, Crawford dropped Khan in the first round and dominated the Briton until he hit him with an accidental low blow in Round 6. Khan couldn’t recover from the blow, or so he says, forcing trainer Virgil Hunter to throw in the towel.
Goyat is a popular boxing figure in India and he helped establish the sport in his country in the past decade. But in Khan, Goyat will be taking a gigantic step-up in the level of competition. He’s fought in a 12-round bout before but he’s never been close to fighting someone at Khan’s level. That said, people are calling this a mismatch but before we conclude, let’s take a look at the fighters first:
One Of The Biggest Names In British Boxing
Amir Khan is one of the biggest names in British boxing. The Bolton native rose to prominence when he won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics. In an impressive professional boxing career, Khan has won world titles in two different weight classes and has faced some of the top pound for pound fighters in the sport like Danny Garcia, Terence Crawford, and Canelo Alvarez.
The 32-year old Khan has a record of 33-5 with 20 knockouts. King Khan stands 5-8 ½ with a reach of 71 inches. He’s won just two out of his last four bouts but it’s worth noting that his losses were to Canelo Alvarez in a fight where he moved up two weight classes and to Terence Crawford in his last outing where he quit after getting hit with a low blow he could not recover from.
While Khan is a massive boxing star and personality, he is clearly on the decline at the age of 32. Khan found most of his success at 140-pounds and while he also won a world title at 147, he’s been unable to beat the elite fighters of the welterweight division. Khan is reportedly going to make $9M for agreeing to fight Goyat.
Odds from Bet365 as of 6/14/19.
A Trailblazer in His Country
Neeraj Goyat is an unknown entity in world class boxing but is a trailblazer in his home country. The 27-year old from Haryana in India is the first Indian boxer to make the WBC rankings at #20. He is also the first Indian to fight and win a 12-round boxing title bout, having fought and defeated Ben Kite via 12 round unanimous decision for the WBC Asian Boxing Council welterweight title in October 2016.
Goyat has a professional boxing record of 11-3-2 with two knockouts. The former team captain of the Haryana Boxing Warriors in the Super Boxing League Season 1 stands 5-7 ½ tall with an undisclosed reach. In his last bout, Goyat defeated Mexico’s Carlos Lopez Marmolejo via unanimous decision in a six -round welterweight contest at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada last April 20th.
In 2018, Goyat signed a promotional contract with Lee Baxter Promotions. He’s won his first two bouts under the promotion with both bouts taking place in Canada. Goyat has fought in various places like China, Thailand, India, Korea, Mexico, and Canada. However, he has not fought someone in Amir Khan’s stature.
This is a fight that is borderline funny, really and one that may be on the same level as Floyd Mayweather Jr. fighting Tenshin Nasukawa in Japan, only that this isn’t an exhibition fight. Much respect to Neeraj Goyat for what he’s accomplished. For a non-boxing nation like India, he’s a trailblazer and perhaps a hero of sorts. He’s won titles at the Asian level so he must be good, at least at that level.
At 16 professional fights though, he doesn’t have the kind of experience that Amir Khan has. And in a fight of this magnitude, that is going to matter a lot. Aside from the number of fights, Goyat has not faced the same level of opposition that Amir Khan has faced. Not a single opponent in his resume is even close to Khan’s level. That should be another problem for the Indian boxer.
When it comes to fighting style, Goyat is no knockout artist. He only has two knockouts in 11 victories. That means that Goyat isn’t going to pose much of a problem for Khan, whose known weakness is having a glass jaw. If Goyat can’t knock Khan out or even just hurt him, there is no way in the world he is going to outbox the Bolton fighter. These are the reasons why he’s such a massive boxing betting underdog in this fight.
Khan’s hand speed is out of this world, even at his advanced age. His boxing technique is elite and his defense is above average. For all the negative comments on Khan, he is absolutely one of the best boxers of this generation. His only problem, and it has always been a big one, is that he is easily dropped because of a weak jaw. But if Goyat can’t take advantage of that weakness, this is no fight at all.
Turning to the other side, Amir Khan does have decent punching power. With 20 knockouts in 33 wins, that’s a good ratio and a good indicator of his punching power. Goyat hasn’t been knocked out but I’m not sure he’s tasted a punch hard as Khan’s nor has he seen hand speed like his opponents. There is no way Goyat wins this fight, not without knockout power. I’m picking Amir Khan to beat Nareej Goyat, easily.