Former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion Amir “King” Khan makes his 2012 ring debut when he returns to the venue of perhaps his most accomplished professional triumph when he meets undefeated phenom and current WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Danny “Swift” Garcia Saturday, July 14 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in a fight televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
In the co-main event, two of the United States’ top hopes for heavyweight world championship glory will face one another when undefeated Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell and once-beaten Johnathon Banks fight in a 12-round contest.
Amir “King” Khan (26-2, 18 KOs), who at only 25 years old is already a star in the United Kingdom, selling out huge arenas and racking up impressive pay-per-view numbers. Considered one of the sport’s future stars, Khan has sailed to the heights of the worlds of amateur and professional boxing, however, he is far from finished on his quest to becoming the best of his era. An accomplished amateur who earned a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens at only 17 years old, the Bolton, England native took the professional game by storm in 2005 and, with the exception of a brief bump in the road in 2008 when he was upset by Breidis Prescott, Khan has since been nearly unstoppable. Khan first became a world champion in July 2009 when he defeated WBA Super Lightweight World Champion Andreas Kotelnik. Khan defended the crown five times, first knocking out previously undefeated Dmitriy Salita in less than one round. Next, in his United States debut at Madison Square Garden in May 2010, he dominated the always tough and current WBA Welterweight World Champion Paul Malignaggi en route to an 11th round technical knockout win.
On December 11, 2010 at Mandalay Bay, Khan battled Marcos Maidana in what was eventually named the Boxing Writers Association of America 2010 Fight of the Year. The fight saw Khan dominate the early rounds, scoring a first round knockdown, but Maidana closed the gap in the later rounds. Khan displayed some extremely impressive fortitude in surviving a vicious 10th round onslaught by Maidana in which the British star looked to be on the brink of being knocked out. Khan made it out of the round on his feet and came out swinging in the 11th and 12th rounds, sealing the unanimous decision victory in an instant classic.
On April 16, 2011, Khan retained his title by defeating European Champion Paul McCloskey via technical decision in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 17,000 at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England. Next came a July 23, 2011 win over then IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Zab Judah, making Khan the unified 140-pound world champion. Next up was an IBF mandatory bout against Lamont Peterson, and in another Fight of the Year candidate on December 10 of last year, Khan lost a controversial split decision and his titles. A rematch was the first order of business, but after Peterson failed a pre-fight drug test and their scheduled May 19 bout was canceled, Khan was forced to look for another big fight. Luckily, he found it in the form of a bout against WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Danny Garcia on July 14.
The latest world champion to emerge from the fighting city of Philadelphia, WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) is unbeaten and untouched as a pro, a testament to his world-class talent, style and determination. A United States Olympic alternate who compiled a 107-13 record as an amateur and won the 2005 Under-19 National Championship, the 2005 International Championship in Finland and the 2006 United States National Championship before deciding to turn pro in November 2007, Garcia’s road to the top has been a smooth one for him, but not for his opponents. After winning seven of his first eight professional fights by knockout, Garcia began showing aspects of his game other than his power as his level of competition increased.
By mid-2009, he started to make his move with knockouts of well-regarded Pavel Miranda, Oscar Leon and Enrique Colin, the latter fight earning him the WBC Youth Intercontinental title. 2010 was even more impressive for Garcia as he defeated top prospect Ashley Theophane and stopped contenders Jorge Romero and Mike Aranoutis, before announcing his arrival to the world in 2011. Last year, “Swift” defeated former World Champions Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in successive bouts, earning himself a shot at a world title against legendary future Hall of Famer Erik Morales.
In that fight on March 24 earlier this year, Garcia was in top form, knocking the Mexican icon down in the 11th round en route to a unanimous decision and the world championship. As the old adage goes, winning the title is the easy part, defending it is the tough part. After a celebratory few months that included being honored by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the tough part now begins for Garcia, and the 24-year-old is ready to defend his belt against all comers, starting with an extremely stiff test in former Two-Time World Champion Amir Khan this summer in Las Vegas.
A former standout linebacker at Michigan State University, Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs) found his true calling in the prize ring after a series of knee injuries dashed his hopes of an NFL career. A soft spoken family man outside the ring, but a ferocious competitor between the ropes, the 29-year-old Maryland resident, who is trained by Andre Hunter, has quickly built a reputation as the kind of fighter that can reinvigorate the heavyweight division, recently being named a 2011 ESPN.com Prospect to Watch and being anointed as the next great American heavyweight.
Mitchell most recently blasted through contenders Timur Ibragimov and Chazz Witherspoon in a combined five rounds, with the latter bout proving that Mitchell not only has the power to succeed, but also the heart to persevere. In that fight, he survived a first round in which he was badly dazed by Witherspoon, only to recover, rally and score a third-round knockout, capturing the vacant NABO Heavyweight Championship. He’ll look to build on those recent successes and live up to the lofty expectations with a win against Banks this summer at Mandalay Bay.
Three-Time National Amateur Champion Johnathon Banks (28-1-1, 18 KOs) has earned a “Ph.D” in the ring thanks to his years of training with the legendary Emanuel Steward and countless rounds of sparring with Unified Heavyweight World Champion Wladimir Klitschko, and now he’s ready to make his own run at the heavyweight title. A professional since 2004, Banks’ only loss came in a cruiserweight title fight against Tomasz Adamek in 2009, but since that bout, the 29-year-old from Detroit has put together an 8-0-1 record, the perfect way to lead into the biggest fight of his eight-year career on July 14.
“Khan vs. Garcia,” a 12-round super lightweight bout, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Khan Promotions with Mitchell vs. Banks presented in association with K2 Promotions. The event is sponsored by Corona and AT&T. The doubleheader will be telecast live on HBO World Championship Boxing at 11:00 p.m. ET/ PT in the United States and live on Sky Sports 1HD in the United Kingdom at 1:00 a.m. GMT on July 15.
Tickets priced at $250, $200, $150, $100 and $50, not including applicable service charges, go on sale Friday, June 1 at 10:00 a.m. PT and will be available for purchase at the Mandalay Bay box office and all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mandaylaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets for fans traveling from the United Kingdom are available for purchase online at www.sportscorporation.com or by calling +44 (0)845 163 0845.