Amir Khan and Kell Brook could finally end their public war of words and lock horns next year. 2017 is already shaping up to be a truly exciting 12 months for boxing, with Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko, David Haye vs Tony Bellew, Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz II, Danny Garcia vs Keith Thurman and James DeGale vs Badou Jack already on the agenda – and it could get even better depending on the outcome of ongoing negotiations between the two British welterweight rivals.
"There's a good chance of it happening," Brook's promoter, Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn, told BBC Sport, before revealing that the bout could take place at a northern venue such as Old Trafford or the Manchester Arena. "Amir wants it to happen, so does Kell. We want to put a fight on for the fans."
Khan and Brook have resumed their social media baiting this week, with the former taking to Twitter on Tuesday (13 December) to post a picture of himself alongside dominant unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who secured a fifth-round stoppage over Sheffield's "Special K" in September, with the caption: "The 1st man to smash kell brooks face @GGGBoxing, standing with him is the next guy to smash Kelly brooks face! #ReadyWhenYouAre."
Brook responded to that provocation with a post that made mocking reference to Khan's own brief middleweight title challenge in May, when he was on the receiving end of a brutal sixth-round knockout from Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. He said: "Glad you've woken up from your last KO, I believe our teams are talking I look forward to sending you back to sleep #QueenKardashion."
Former unified light-welterweight champion Khan, who recently decried the public feud between his parents and wife Faryal Makhdoom Khan, said after that defeat to Canelo that he was targeting a rematch with Garcia, who he lost to in 2012. Having picked up the silver strap with victory over Luis Collazo two-and-a-half years ago, he was named as the mandatory challenger for the vacant WBC belt that the unbeaten American sealed thanks to a unanimous decision defeat of Robert Guerrero in January.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman subsequently reaffirmed Khan's status as the number one contender despite his high-profile loss in Las Vegas, and he now has his eyes firmly fixed on facing the winner of the eagerly-anticipated March unification contest between Garcia and WBA champion Keith Thurman.
In an interview with FightHub earlier this week, Khan, who underwent surgery during the summer that involved bone from his hip being grafted onto his hand, claimed that Brook "does not belong in big fights" and that he "shouldn't be in the ring with someone like Golovkin". He also stated that a bout against the reigning IBF welterweight title-holder would be a mere "tune-up" before bigger fights further down the line.
"That fight between me and him can happen, I mean I do consider it," he said. "I don't mind having that as a tune up fight – the Kell Brook fight – before I go into big fights, so we in talks, I've left it to my team. I have a great team in the UK now..."