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Khan-Maidana heats up!

The Conga Room at L.A. Live played host on Tuesday afternoon to the debut U.S. press conference for Thunder & Lightning, the apt nickname for the December 11th showdown between WBA light welterweight champion, Amir “King” Khan and WBA interim light welterweight champion, Marcos Maidana. Amir Khan, coming off a one sided beatdown last May of Paulie Malignaggi, faces a much stiffer test this time around with the once beaten Argentinian fighter, Marcos “El Chino” Maidana, who is considered by many to be the hardest puncher in the light welterweight division.

Khan, a resident of the UK, will be making his second straight fight in the United States with his destruction of Malignaggi taking place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and this upcoming fight taking place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, it will be the third time that Maidana has fought on U.S. soil and he is coming off a comfortable decision victory over veteran DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley just five weeks ago. Corley is just one of two of Maidana’s opponents who has managed to last the distance rather than being knocked out by Maidana.

Maidana, who boasts a career knockout percentage of 90%, definitely will be a test for the chin of Khan whose last three opponents in Malignaggi, Dmitriy Salita and Andriy Kotelnik have been relatively light punchers with knockout percentages of 16%, 36% and 48%, respectively. Khan’s sole career defeat came by way of first round knockout at the hands of Breidis Prescott, a solid but unspectacular fighter with a 76% career knockout percentage who, following the Khan victory, would go on to lose twice last year.

Meanwhile, Maidana’s sole defeat came in a very close split decision loss to Andriy Kotelnik in Kotelnik’s native Germany. Maidana’s biggest career win to date was against the favored Victor Ortiz in June, 2009, in Ortiz’ hometown Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Despite being floored three times in the first two rounds by Ortiz, Maidana showed tremendous heart in rising each time and in finally earning a sixth round TKO victory. WBA interim light welterweight champion, Marcos Maidana, spoke briefly and said “I’m in Las Vegas training and will be in the best shape of my life. I am going to make the most out of this opportunity.”

“Khan’s been running from me for a long time, but the running stops on December 11. I’ll show him how a champion acts and fights when we get into the ring in Las Vegas.”

WBA light welterweight champion, Amir Khan, then took the podium. “If I want to fight the best, I have to fight the best. It is a big opportunity for both of us. He is known as a big puncher but I really think I am a bigger puncher. Although I am best known for my speed, ask my past opponents about my power.”

“Maidana has been doing a lot of talking and he’s talked his way into a fight now, “ said Khan. “Unfortunately for him, his mouth isn’t going to help him in the ring and I’m going to prove to him that I’m on another level on December 11th.”