Amir Khan says the first defense of his WBA light-welterweight title against the unbeaten Dmitryi Salita won't be overshadowed by it pitting him as a Muslim against a Jewish opponent.
Both boxers spoke Thursday in a media conference call and downplayed any religious significance in the December 5 fight in Newcastle.
Khan, a Briton who has one loss in 22 fights, said: "The religious thing that we do is in our private time. When I walk into any fight, I do what I have to do."
Salita, a Ukraine-born American who practices as an orthodox Jew, has compiled a 30-0 record as a professional fighter, with one draw. He agreed with his opponent that the focus should remain on the fight, rather than on other issues.
"We're both professional boxers. I will go into the match prepared mentally and spiritually to the best of my ability to win the fight."