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Amir Khan reveals the biggest motivation in his boxing career

Pakistan-origin British boxer Amir Khan is all set to launch his Super Boxing League despite indifference from Indian and world boxing bodies.

other sports Updated: May 09, 2017 23:11 IST
Sean Sequeira
Amir Khan is among the top-3 boxers in the world in welterweight division right now.
Amir Khan is among the top-3 boxers in the world in welterweight division right now.(AFP)

British boxer Amir Khan has come a long way since he shot to fame by becoming Britain’s youngest Olympic medallist after winning silver in men’s lightweight at 2004 Athens Olympics.

Since that moment, everything has been uphill albeit with minor stumbles.

Amir turned professional a few years later and went on to become a unified light-welterweight world champion, holding the WBA title (2009 to 2012) and IBF title (2011).

Looking back at his journey, the Pakistan-origin boxer acknowledged that going pro meant giving up on an Olympic gold medal dream but the trade-off has been worth it.

“I was only 17 and really young (when I won the Olympic silver). I had the opportunity to turn professional but I didn’t. I stayed amateur for another two years,” Amir said when asked about his decision to turn pro.

“I wanted to make sure the deal for me to turn professional was the best I could get. And I signed up with Vijender Singh’s current promoter Frank Warren. It was the biggest contract I could get. He got me the world title fight against Andreas Kotelnik (in 2009).

“My career has been great. It’s been tough but there are always ups and downs. But I’m glad in a way that I’ve had the losses because they have made me work harder and motivated me to never lose again,” Amir said, reflecting on his professional career.

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Amir is among the top-3 boxers in the world in welterweight division and plans on bringing his expertise to India with his new initiative — the Super Boxing League (SBL).

With his promoter Bill Dosanjh — both of whom will co-own the league — Amir hopes to give young Indian boxers a platform.

“We are looking for the next big superstar in India,” Amir said of SBL.

However, with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) withdrawing support, fighters participating in the tournament would lose their amateur status and eligibility to represent India at the Olympics.

But Amir does not see it as a negative.

“We are giving an opportunity to the fighters at grassroots level. They could be good, medium or bad.

“The Olympics don’t give you an opportunity; you have to be good to go to the Olympics (because only a few fighters qualify).

“Nowadays, there are a lot of fighters who never make it to the Olympics but are still capable of becoming world champions in the professional circuit.

“Mike Tyson never went to the Olympic Games but look at how great a champion he is.”

Amir feels professional boxers too represent their countries.

“When I fight, I represent two countries — Great Britain and Pakistan — because my family is from there.

“Say if these young fighters compete in the SBL and then move to America for a big fight, they will still be representing India because when they announce the fighter, they will say “from India” after their name.”