AMIR Khan has made the clearest declaration yet that he wants to finally take on long-time rival Kell Brook in 2021.

Both men have traded words for years with the battle of Britain arguably having less luster than it would have done had the pair been at their peaks.

Bolton’s Khan insists he wants to fight on despite having been out of the ring since beating the over-matched Billy Dib in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in July of last year.

Brook is also at a crossroads after being knocked out by former Khan foe Terrence Crawford in four rounds in Las Vegas in November.

To most observers, fighting each other is the only really viable option left for both men.

While not the attraction it could have been, it is a fight that would still generate a lot of interest among fight fans in Britain and beyond.

And now Khan has kicked off the war of words with the Sheffield favourite.

“I think with Kell Brook, who has always been running his mouth, I think it’s time to put him in his place now,” the 34-year-old told the Dubai-based Khaleej Times.

The Bolton News: Kell BrookKell Brook

“I think it is about time now to put him in his place and shut him up for good.”

Khan has spent the last few weeks in the Middle East doing work with both the Amir Khan Foundation and in his new position as president of the World Boxing Council’s Middle East division.

He promoted a boxing show in Pakistan just before Christmas and met the country’s Prime Minister and legendary former cricketer Imran Khan to talk about his plans.

Despite all his work outside of the ring, the former unified world super-lightweight champion, a veteran of 39 contests, insists he still has some unfinished business as an active fighter.

Khan had no interest in fighting in empty arenas as boxing battled Covid-19 restrictions but believes he could be back in the ring as early as March.

“The gloves are still on,” he said. “This year was a bit of a bad year for everybody and boxing was off.

“They wanted to fight behind closed doors. I didn’t really feel like I could motivate myself, but hopefully, if it opens up next year, we can make something happen.

“I want to fight again around March or April and there are so many names out there, there are so many deals on the table, in the Middle East as well. So, let’s see how that plays out.”

While there are plenty of miles on the clock, the drive is remains for Khan.

“I enjoy the sport, still,” he said. “Honestly, I would be lost without it. I love waking up in the morning, training, running.

“My life is all about boxing and I’ve never really thought about retiring. It’s hard for me to walk away from it.”