BOXER Tasif Khan has urged his fellow Bradfordians to come out in force and show two of the sport's legends that the city is back on the map.

The 36-year-old is set to defend his WBU super flyweight title for the first time when he battles Luis Alberto Rios at St George's Hall on Saturday, September 7.

The bout has been billed a homecoming for Girlington-based Khan as he makes his debut at the prestigious Bradford venue in front of two of the world's greats.

Herbie Hide and Riddick Bowe will both make an appearance on the night, which begins at 8.30pm. Hide held the WBO heavyweight title twice between 1994 and 1999, as well as the British heavyweight title in 1993. Meanwhile Bowe was the undisputed world heavyweight champion in 1992, and as an amateur won a silver medal in the super heavyweight division at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Khan won the WBU title after beating former Commonwealth title challenger Asamoah Wilson in the second round by TKO in Lagos, Nigeria, in December last year.

Khan, who has previous fought in the city's Cedar Court Hotel, says he will be under pressure for this weekend's bout but wants a partisan crowd to help cheer him to victory.

He said: "I want Bradford to get behind us.

"I want Bradford to show its support and show boxing icons like Herbie Hide and Riddick Bowe that it is a new home for boxing. It is great that those two fighters will come to show their support. It's amazing, I'm very grateful I'm in a position today to get Hide and Bowe to come to Bradford.

"I was honoured to have Herbie Hide in my corner in Lagos last December.

"The crowd will be like a 12th man in football. Without the crowd and their support, nothing would be possible.

"I want a night like this to be remembered. Many young boxers who started out in Bradford have done very, very well.

"We want to start to be talked about. I have never boxed at St George's Hall before. It's going to be a big event. I'm looking forward to it.

"I'm honoured to get my team to put on this world title fight in my hometown. I'm proud to be from Bradford.

"There is pressure on my side. The world title is on the line. To get an opponent like that across the water to fight me in my back yard is very, very difficult.

"We have got the IBF and IBO titles on the list next, that's the route we want to take. Rios has been the WBC Latino Champion. His resume speaks for itself.

"Boxing is growing massively, not just in Bradford but also in England."

Tickets for Saturday's event are still available, price £60 for VIPs and £30, £25 and £20 for standard seats. For more information, or to book, call 01274 432000 or go to