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Last thing Vijender Singh wants is to be known as a fraud: Amir Khan

In an interview to Hindustan Times, former world champion Amir Khan said that newly turned professional boxer Vijender Singh should up his game now and fight tougher opponents.

other sports Updated: Jul 09, 2017 12:20 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Vijender Singh,Amir Khan,2004 Athens Olympics
Former world champion Amir Khan is currently in India to promote his Super Boxing League.(PTI)

Former world boxing champion Amir Khan is always upfront and aggressive, whether in the ring or outside it.

The 2004 Athens Olympics silver medallist is currently in India to promote his new Super Boxing League (SBL), a franchise-based tournament being held in New Delhi from July 7 to August 12.

HT caught up with Amir to discuss about his possible fight with Vijender Singh and how he rates the Indian pugilist’s opponents. He also spoke about his future and the ‘The Money Fight’ among other things.

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How would you rate Vijender as a professional boxer and when are we going to witness you fighting him?

A: He is a very good fighter. He is a new professional, has had some great fights and is a big name in India. He has put India on the boxing map. People talk about me fighting him which could happen one day. We are similar weights, he is two categories above me. May be we could make that fight. End of the day, there is a lot of history in that fight; Vijender being a young lion, similar in age to me. I am 30, he is 31. He is aiming to become a world champion while I have already achieved that and everything in my career. The spin is that I am a British-Pakistani and he is an Indian. India vs Pakistan always.... where we beat you in cricket (laughs), we might have to do the same in boxing.

Vijender has had very comfortable victories after switching to the pro circuit. Do you think his team is not making him fight tough opponents?

A: They want to build him. They want to get him knockout wins. They want to show how good a fighter he really is. But he definitely needs to get his game up now. He has had a good amateur background. Now is the time when they can push him up and promote him but he definitely needs to be moved up quick because what’s going to happen is that he is going to lose the chance. The last thing he wants is to be known is that he is a fraud or bad fighter because he is not facing anybody good. Fight a top level guy, beat him, that will make his name even bigger.

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What about you? It has been long since you have fought. Who will you fight next and when?

A: It is going to be in October or November. We are looking at three locations -- Las Vegas, Manchester/London or Dubai. There is a lot of interest in Asia as well. One day I might be fighting in Pakistan, India or China but America is where the Mecca of boxing is -- Las Vegas, New York City, Los Angeles. We are looking at some names at the moment. It could be anyone.

You were going to fight Manny Pacquiao in April but that didn’t work out. Any plan of fighting him in the future?

A: Manny lost his last fight. He didn’t really look that good. Look Manny is a great name. He’s a good friend. It will make great business to fight a guy like Manny who is a legend of the sport. But I don’t think it will happen at the end of this year. But anything can happen in boxing. I leave it to my management team to get me the fight I want.

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A very big fight between boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champ Conor McGregor, billed as The Money Fight, is coming up in August. What do you make of it?

A: It is a good fight, name wise. It is like a baseball player going into a cricket match because he knows how to hit a ball. At the end of the day, it makes a lot of money because you’ve got two big superstars, Mayweather in boxing and McGregor in mixed martial arts (MMA). You combine them and you’re going to have one of the biggest fights in the history of boxing. I favour Mayweather winning because he is a guy who has been boxing all his life while McGregor is having his first professional fight. So it is a big advantage for Mayweather as he has the experience behind him.

First Published: Jul 09, 2017 08:30 IST