Anthony Joshua is the A-side but Tyson Fury is current world No 1, says Amir Khan

Watch an extended interview with Amir Khan on Sky Sports Boxing YouTube

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Amir Khan says he's targeting two more fights before retiring

Amir Khan has been involved in blockbuster battles himself and hopes Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury can settle the heavyweight debate, writes Craig Slater.

"I think, at this moment in time… ah, that's the little one" - Amir Khan's take (via zoom) on the heavyweight scene was interrupted by the wails of his three-month-old.

Quietly devout, Khan's first son's name is traditional, but the spelling "Muhammad" is a nice nod to "The Greatest". Might the current heavyweight epoch eventually stand comparison to Ali's? Khan's voice rose characteristically as he carried his laptop to a quieter room.

"You've got the heavyweight division at its best right now. It's the best it's going to be. In my opinion, it's the best division out there at this time.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Eddie Hearn reveals that offers have been made to stage Joshua vs Fury abroad

"We've not had it like this for a long time. There's AJ, the world champion, Fury the new world champion, beating Deontay Wilder. Wilder, who seemed untouchable!

"The heavyweight division is the one everyone is talking about and for the UK to have two massive names and two world champions, it can only lead to one massive fight, if AJ and Fury happens.

Could the current pandemic bring it closer? Restrictions on international travel prompted Wilder's promoter Bob Arum to tell Sky Sports that Fury-Joshua might be the only practical clash between the world's top three in the medium term.

Latest 7.boxing Stories

Fury can't travel to the US to face Wilder. Kubrat Pulev faces similar issues coming to the UK to meet Joshua. Khan agrees. "I think what we are going through at the moment, during this pandemic period, no one knows what is going to happen. But I think on Sky, AJ did say it was going to be now or never to make it happen with Fury and that makes sense. It has to happen now, or maybe it's never.

"Just like it had to happen when me and Kell Brook were looking to fight. We said 'now or never' back then and now it looks like never."

Wilder has a contractual block on a Fury-Joshua fight happening next. Tentative terms, however, between the two Britons are already being debated, with a likely fifty-fifty split should they meet. In commercial terms, that makes sense to Khan even if - in boxing terms - Fury is now the division's No 1.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Joshua firmly believed Fury could ‘expose’ and ‘annihilate’ Deontay Wilder

"We all know the 'A-side' of the heavyweights is AJ. He is the A-side, he is the big name and he brings the money to the table.

"There are so many names out there, I don't know what route AJ is going to take. Is Fury No 1 in the heavyweights? Definitely. You can't fault that Fury is No 1. He's proven that, having drawn against and beaten Wilder; not just beating him but knocking him out."

Could the biggest fight in UK history take place without a crowd? This week, Robert Smith, Secretary of the British Boxing Board revealed "Fights in TV studios or behind closed doors may become the first phase of a staged return of boxing".

Fury-Joshua is a stadium rather than a studio fight, with their eventual meeting more likely to take place in the Middle East early next year. Would a "studio fight" be an attraction for anyone at world level? Not for Khan at least.

"It would be hard to motivate yourself in a fight behind closed doors and no fans there. We are prizefighters we want to put a showcase on with our fans. We want to electrify a crowd.

"You want to see thousands of people with their eyes fixed on you. That is what motivates you and inspires you for more big fights. For me to walk into a ring with no fans, it would be very hard to motivate yourself. For some fighters might be different, it would be very difficult for me. I couldn't switch myself on."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Khan would relish a long-awaited showdown with Manny Pacquiao

Boxing needs to be switched on quickly once sport resumes, according to Khan. "Once this pandemic is over, I think, when boxing starts again, we need to put the big fights on straight away to get the fans back into boxing.

"We are up against other sports, MMA and UFC. They are having the best fights. The best are fighting the best. Boxing isn't doing that. The best aren't fighting the best and that is why the sport isn't doing that well.

"I feel once this pandemic is over, if we put on some big events, some big shows, then boxing will be back at the top again. I really believe in boxing but at this moment in time big fights need to be made."

Will Khan feature in one of those? He's targeting perhaps two more fights before retirement. Barely two years older than Tyson Fury, he's one away from 40 professional contests. Against that, he turned professional 16 years ago and has made championship weight for the vast majority of that period. He seems to accept the longer this lockdown goes on, perhaps the less likely it is he'll actually fight again.

Yet he is keeping busy via the Amir Khan Foundation, which, during the coronavirus crisis has been active in and around Bolton. Before this interview, Khan himself had been on delivery rounds.

"I've literally just finished going to hospices and local hospitals and also dropping some food off to people's doorstep, so that way I'm trying to do my little bit," Khan said. "I just feel that everyone in the UK at this moment in time - needs to help and needs to stick together.

"It makes me very happy when I have the mask on and the gloves on and I go to someone's doorstep and say "This is a box from the Amir Khan Foundation" and they say "Is he in the van?" and I hand it over myself and say it is me.

It is nice to be appreciated not just in the ring but by helping. I love doing that. It gives me a lot of peace and it is something I'm going to do all my life.

Watch an extended interview with Amir Khan on the Sky Sports Boxing YouTube page.

Around Sky