A sport without sportsmanship is a fight, but when a sportsperson of Pakistani origin challenges one of our own, it’s almost war. Still, the boxer who recently ‘warned’ Vijender Singh that he’d destroy his career is not some random person, and he did not mean any harm. Because this is Dangal-watching, Delhi-loving Amir Khan, a rock star beyond boxing, a man with speed, attitude and a lot more than the game that made his name.
His recent statement that he would “destroy Vijender’s career” if they were to fight each other kind of belies Amir’s ‘normal guy’ remark, though Amir does have great things to say about the Indian boxer. However, he stands by his belief that he could beat Vijender hollow.
“ I’ve done what Vijender wants to do; his dream is to achieve what I have achieved. He is a good fighter, but he is junior to me. He has a long way to go before he fights me.”
Amir knows that a match between the two of them would mean more than just two boxers facing off: it would mean a fight between two nations. “I’m calm and collected as a fighter. I’ve been in this game long enough to become like that,” says Amir. “But the two of us fighting will be a grudge match. If we do fight, I don’t think the India vs Pakistan thing will affect me much. It might affect Vijender; he’s less experienced than me. I’ve done what Vijender wants to do; his dream is to achieve what I have achieved. He is a good fighter, but he is junior to me. He has a long way to go before he fights me.”
Amir and Vijender have met at Amir’s gym in the UK and outside the ring too. “I respect and support him; he is hard-working,” says Amir. “I want to see him give India a good name. Whenever we meet, we talk and it’s all good. Outside of boxing, we are friends. I supported him during the Commonwealth Games; I went to meet him after his fights. In fact, I’ll always be there for him.”
Amir also co-owns the Super Fight League, a platform dedicated to giving amateurs a chance to fight in a professional cage. “I want to help Indians get into Mixed Martial Arts and boxing. Many Indian actors such as Arjun Rampal, Ajay Devgn and Sohail Khan are associated with it.”
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From HT Brunch, April 16, 2017
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