Amir Khan has today urged caution when it comes to the career of fellow British boxer Anthony Joshua.
Like Khan who was heavily hyped in the early years of his pro career, Joshua is currently in the limelight after a perfect 16-0 start, and a recent IBF heavyweight title win has led to lofty expectations on the 26-year-old's shoulders.
Speaking ahead of his own World Boxing Council middleweight title fight against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez this weekend, Khan drew comparisons between Joshua's whirlwind start to his pro career and his own:
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"It’s been a bit of a rush for Joshua," Khan said, via The Daily Mail. "They have to be careful. Next year will be soon enough for him to fight Fury. It’s all in the timing. If it’s all going so great you can lose perspective.
"That can be dangerous. It happened to me a bit. Thought I could go to war with anyone out there and I got caught out a couple of times. That was good for me.
"It reminded me that I’m only where I am because of boxing. It’s good to be young and hungry and ambitious. But you must beware of your head getting...You must not lose your humility. I learned that lesson.
Finding the balance
After claiming the silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Khan was perfect through his first 18 fights but struggled to live up to the hype at times through a combination of lacklustre opponents and his own difficulty to put away some more experienced opponents.
While he doesn't want to see Joshua pushed into a fight against Tyson Fury before he is ready, Khan did warn that Eddie Hearn and co. that they can't afford to take things too slowly either - citing yet another Brit, Kell Brook, as an example:
"It’s a fine balance. You can’t go too slow either. You have to know when to move on from fairly easy fights and take on better opponents," Khan continued.
"Look what’s happened to Kell Brook. We could have had a huge fight in England. I wanted him to prove he was worthy of that by fighting more top-class opponents.
"But apart from when he beat Shawn Porter to win his world title he’s hardly fought anyone of real note. He’s still doing that and I think the moment for our fight has passed.
"We don’t want that to happen to Joshua, either. You have to sense the moment to go for the top."
At present, it looks like Joshua's team are erring on the side of caution. Having claimed the heavyweight title from Charles Martin earlier this year, Joshua is in line to fight the in-experienced Dominic Breazeale on June 25.
This might not draw the intrigue that a fight versus the outspoken Fury would do, but it might just be the most sensible option as Joshua and his team plan for what could be a very long and successful pro career.
As for Khan, he will be looking to cap off his own career with a third title win of his own this weekend.
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