Khan survived a fourth-round knockdown to battle to an unconvincing points victory over the veteran Mexican at Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena.
The 25-year-old, without world belts since damaging back-to-back defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia in 2011 and 2012 respectively, now hopes the result puts him back in the frame for title fights.
The Bolton fighter said: "I wanted a tough fight and one the fans were going to think it was a good fight to go to.
"You want to give people their money's worth and they got that in a good, explosive 12 rounds.
"Sometimes tough fights can be bad for you but I think that one will do me good.
"I needed a fight like that to take me to the next level up.
"I told people beforehand I was fighting a good Mexican fighter - Mexicans come to fight and Julio said he was in the best shape ever. He came to win.
"Julio gave it 100 per cent, but so did we.
"I was put down in round four. Although Julio caught me with a clean shot, I was a little bit off balance at the time.
"But I took it, I said 'fine' to the referee when he scored a knockdown.
"I put my hand up and blamed myself for taking the shot and being off balance.
"It is something I am going to learn from."
Garcia retained his WBA and WBC light welterweight titles with victory over Zab Judah on the same evening.
He could now fight the winner of next month's contest between Peterson and Lucas Matthyse with Khan a potential opponent for the victor of that bout.
Another option for Khan could be a step up to welterweight and look to take on IBF champion Devon Alexander, if he comes through his fight with Britain's Kell Brook next month.
Khan, speaking at his gym in Bolton, said: "Welterweight - could be. I am getting bigger and older, filling out in this way.
"Maybe that could be a good division, but I am just waiting on a few opponents, seeing how a few results go and taking it from there.
"So there is nothing yet. There are a few routes we will be looking at.
"There are a few names I am trying to get and I should have some answers in a week or two's time."
Whichever options present themselves, Khan's most pressing immediate concern is his wedding in New York to fiancee Faryal Makhdoom next month.
After their honeymoon he will spend some time in camp with trainer Virgil Hunter in San Francisco before beginning work in earnest ahead of a potential next fight in December after Ramadan ends in early August.
Khan said: "I am getting married in about a month's time. That is one of the reasons I will only be fighting twice this year, and then there is Ramadan, so I will start from there.
"I am looking forward to the wedding. It is going to be a busy time for me, the middle part of this year.
"Then hopefully towards the end of the year all that will be cleared."
Amir was not the only Khan in action on Saturday night as his younger brother Haroon, 21, made his professional debut on the same card.
Haroon was also triumphant, beating Lincoln's Brett Fidoe on points in a four-round super flyweight bout.
Haroon said: "It went well, I am over the moon with it.
"The first fight is always the toughest one and I felt I handled it well, especially fighting in front of a large crowd.
"I went out there and tried my best and got the win.
"Once I stepped in the ring I thought, 'Wow, the spotlight is on me'.
"I had no headguard. I was going to say to my coach, 'Where is my headguard?'
"But I thought I handled it well and boxed well."
Haroon may give Amir extra reason to keep an eye on the Alexander-Brook event in Atlantic City as he hopes to secure a fight on the undercard for his next outing.
"I am fit to fight again and can't wait to get back in the ring," said Haroon.
"I want to get one more in before Ramadan and at least another four before the end of the year."