Amir Khan believes he can fight for a world title by the end of the year.
The 31-year-old boxer will take on Colombian Samuel Vargas in Birmingham on September 8 in a WBA welterweight eliminator with the winner due to face the victor of Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse.
Khan, a former unified world champion, is also eyeing a bout with Sheffield’s Kell Brook as he prepares for just his third fight in two years.
But Khan insists he is targeting a world title bout to prove he is back to his best.
“We’re getting closer to a world title fight, which is where I want to get to. It could be by the end of the year, or early next year – I want to be in there quick,” he told Press Association Sport.
“Waiting around is not something I like doing. I was third youngest world champion in Britain, that’s because I don’t like waiting around.
“Brook is a fight I want, let’s see how it goes. I’m ready for everyone, I’m not ducking anyone. I want to fight all the biggest names. That’s where I belong.”
Khan returned to the ring after a two-year absence to beat Phil Lo Greco in 39 seconds in April.
He admits facing Pacquiao, who lost the WBO world welterweight title to former schoolteacher Jeff Horn last year, is a massive carrot but he must perform against Vargas first.
Khan said: “I can’t afford to make any mistakes. Even with Lo Greco, yes I beat him and he’s a good fighter but I caught him early. It could happen to any of us.
“I have to win but win in good style. I finished so quickly against Lo Greco, I finished so fast I didn’t have the chance to get the ring rust out.
“This fight for me will lead me on to bigger fights and bigger names. I want to be back at world title level.”
“No fight is easy, every fight is difficult. I’m looking at the bigger picture and there are some big fights out there for me.”
Vargas, a 29-year-old Colombian welterweight based in Toronto, has a record of 29 wins – 14 by KO – three losses and two draws.
He said: “This is my time, I’ve been up here before, I have the experience, I have the time, I feel ready and I’m going to pull off an upset. That’s my job.
“It’s going to be the biggest break of my career. I know what it’s like to be on the B side of boxing. It’s rubbish. I’m excited for this fight.”