Thaxton’s dream is delayed

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich's Jon Thaxton has accused Amir Khan of taking the easy option after 30-year-old Dane Martin Kristjansen was named as the rising star's next opponent.

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich's Jon Thaxton has accused Amir Khan of taking the easy option after 30-year-old Dane Martin Kristjansen was named as the rising star's next opponent.

Thaxton labelled Kristjansen a "non-puncher" and said pitting him against Khan was "ludicrous" after his hopes of being named as the youngster's next opponent were ended yesterday.

British lightweight champion Thaxton had been hoping that promoter Frank Warren had him pencilled in to face Khan in what would have been a huge Battle of Britain showdown at the ExCel Arena in London on February 2.

But Warren has instead gone for Kristjansen, who has a 19-1-3 professional record - but boasts only five wins by way of stoppage.

"Warren has got another light puncher as an opponent because he has no confidence in Amir Khan's chin," said an angry Thaxton last night.

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"I'm disappointed, really disappointed and I think it's ludicrous. Amir Khan said this week I couldn't crack an egg - look at Kristjansen's record and you can see he definitely can't crack an egg."

Thaxton has the firepower to back up his claims: in his 12 fights since turning lightweight, he has stopped nine opponents within the distance.

"Amir Khan will come through his fight with flying colours, no doubt - but when will he fight someone who will test him?" asked Thaxton.

Thaxton's co-manager Neil Featherby agrees, but insists a face-to-face with Khan is still on the cards.

"Kristjansen has a good record, but he's a non-puncher again," said Featherby. "It just goes to show after all the talk from Amir Khan this week - Frank Warren is a very good businessman and a very good promoter, and he doesn't make too many mistakes. But obviously he doesn't think Amir is ready to face Jon."

But all is not lost for Thaxton.

Warren had made it clear that Khan would fight on February 2, come what may, and that means there is still time for the Bolton 21-year-old to challenge for Thaxton's British title.

Purse bidders for that fight have until January 9 to submit their applications, with the British Boxing Board of Control setting a deadline of the end of April for the show to go ahead - and that means Khan v Thaxton is still a real possibility.

Should Warren win the purse bid it's an indication that he feels Khan is ready to face Thaxton. But should Thaxton's promoter, Mick Hennessy, be successful, then Warren may simply choose for his fighter not to take up his position of number one contender.

"Purse bids are being sorted out and in the meantime I will keep on ticking over," said Thaxton. "My promoter, Mick Hennessy, has put in a big bid and if he is successful, let's see whether they pull Amir Khan out of it then.

"He has insulted me and put me down. But he doesn't answer my call. Come January 9 when the purse bids are decided, he's going to have to put up or shut up."

Khan's fight against Kristjansen is for the vacant WBO Intercontinental lightweight championship. The unbeaten Khan is ranked number six by the WBO, nine by the WBC and 15 by the WBA and victory would see him move a step closer to a dream world title shot.

Warren will also be applying to the WBO for the fight to be sanctioned as an eliminator for the world title.

"This is another step up for Amir in his explosive career," said Warren. "Kristjansen is world ranked and will give him plenty to think about. Amir has only just turned 21 years old, but he looked absolutely sensational in demolishing an experienced former champion in Graham Earl.

"Amir is making such quick progress in his career that I will be sending a letter to the WBO with the aim of making this fight as an eliminator for the world title."