British lightweight Amir Khan, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and the 2007 ESPN.com prospect of the year, is moving up to junior welterweight to challenge titleholder Andreas Kotelnik, Khan promoter Frank Warren said Wednesday.
Khan, who is coming off a bloody five-round technical decision victory against Marco Antonio Barrera, will face Ukraine's Kotelnik on June 27 at a venue to be determined in the United Kingdom.
"This is the moment that Amir has been waiting for and I'm delighted to deliver him the opportunity," Warren said. "Amir put in a sensational performance against a three-time world champion and future Hall of Famer in Barrera in only his 21st fight and now he has to produce the same form against Kotelnik, who is a good, hard fighter."
Kotelnik's move came as a surprise to Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes 2008 ESPN.com prospect of the year Victor Ortiz.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said last week that he reached a verbal agreement with Kotelnik promoter Universum to match Kotelnik with Ortiz in Los Angeles in a June 27 HBO fight.
"I made a deal with Universum," Schaefer said last week. "We have agreed on the monetary side. We made a deal."
Universum, however, got a better a deal to go to England to face Khan and turned its back on the Ortiz fight.
"What we heard was that Frank Warren was making an offer for Kotelnik to fight Khan, so Richard called over to the people in Germany and was initially told, 'Don't worry and we'll get back to you.' The next day [Tuesday], when he spoke to Universum, they told him they were offered so much more with Khan so that's the way they were going," said Shelly Finkel, Ortiz's co-manager. "It's a disappointment."
Finkel said Ortiz will still fight June 27 on HBO and that the team was "kicking around a couple of names right now."
Groomed for a world title since turning professional, Khan (20-1, 15 KOs) was on the fast track until suffering a shocking first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott last September. However, he turned to trainer Freddie Roach and has won two fights in a row since the defeat -- a second-round knockout of Oisin Fagan and the win against Barrera on March 14.
Khan is excited to get a shot at a world title.
"This is the best news that I could have received," Khan said. "To fight for the world title in only my 22nd fight and at the age of just 22 is fantastic. Frank has done a great job getting the world title fight for me in Britain and now I have to go out win it.
"I've seen Kotelnik a few times and I've always been impressed by him, but once my trainer, Freddie Roach, works out the game plan to beat him it's my job to execute it on the night as I did effectively against Barrera."
The 31-year-old Kotelnik (31-2-1, 13 KOs), who is based in Germany, will be making his fourth title defense. He held onto his title with a split decision win against Argentina's Marcos Rene Maidana on Feb. 7.
He will be fighting in the United Kingdom for the fourth time. In his first two fights there he lost a close decision to former junior welterweight titleholder Junior Witter in a European championship fight in 2005 and was held to a draw in a 2007 world title challenge against then-beltholder Souleymane M'Baye. But in March 2008, Kotelnik returned and stopped Gavin Rees to win his belt.
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.