Vijender is scared, respect Goyat as he stood up to fight: Boxer Amir Khan
Amir Khan is always up for a fight. If not Vijender Singh, he has picked up India’s Neeraj Goyat, a former MMA fighter and the first from the country to be ranked by the WBC, for his next fight. The showdown is billed as a Brit Paksitani taking on Indian boxer for World Boxing Council’s newly-formed ‘Pearl title’ belt at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on July 12. Both boxers wants to spread the message of peace between the two nations through the sport.
Khan would be looking to bounce back after his controversial pull out in round 6 against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in April. Khan says he is looking to get his hunger back.
In an exclusive chat, Khan also says he feels British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will ‘destroy’ challenger Andy Ruiz in three to four rounds.
Why are you fighting a relatively unknown name in Neeraj Goyat?
Mohammad Ali, who is my hero, fought all over the world and gave opportunities to the best boxers of different countries. So, this is the time for me to give opportunity to our Super Boxing League champions, and help more Indian, more Pakistani more Asian boxers to get into boxing. Like Neeraj said we want to bring peace. It will be the first time a British Pakistani will fight an Indian boxer.
How do you see Goyat as a challenger?
Goyat seems to me like he loves a challenge. He knows it is a big opportunity for him as well. If he beats me, he knows it will take him on to a different level. This is more than what Vijender Singh has ever done. Vijender has never really fought anyone who is a world champion, but this guy fighting a two-time world champion. He is showing lot of courage. So, I give him a lot of respect for that.
You have been wanting to fight Vijender Singh for some time now?
We have been trying to chase Vijender, but I think he is scared. He (Goyat) stood up and that’s why I respect him. Even though he is not in my level, but he is challenging himself. He wants to prove to himself that this is where he belongs. Vijender has to prove that he is not only a good fighter but also he is not afraid. He is a talented fighter but obviously you need to be brave as well. It is half as mental as well.
You lost your last fight. What is that you are going to try out here?
In my last two fights, maybe I was trying new things out. I think it’s time to go back to basics again. And to have the hunger back again, love of the sport back. I think this fight will do that. We are friends in the boxing ring. I know him from the Super Boxing League. But for me, its business. I am going to make sure that I beat this guy.
Your take on the big clash between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz?
I think Joshua is too bigger, too stronger and he is going to destroy him within three rounds, four rounds. Joshua is a level above. I wish him all the very best.
He has got the size, the weight everything. Look, with heavyweight boxing one punch can change the fight. So even if a fluke shot comes in, it can hurt Joshua. We know that Joshua has been hurt before, he has been down before, so maybe this guy can do that. But we don’t know. Will Joshua give him the chance to get hit with a big shot? I don’t think so. Well, if he does, then in boxing anybody can get hurt.
What should be the approach of Ruiz?
His best approach would be to be very smart. Don’t stand here and get hit, keep your head moving and fight back. Don’t be scared to fight back. He has to pull punches. How most of these guys get knocked up by Joshua is because Joshua is very strong, without even them trying. At least throw punches and see what happens. Ruiz is a big underdog, everyone expecting him to get knocked out. He should go in and all out.
You think boxing in Olympics is losing its relevance, with so much of mess around the boxing competition in 2020 Tokyo Games?
It’s not like (what) it used to be. There are people turning professionals now. In amateur boxing, one day they have heard guards, one day they have no head guards. There’s amateur, there’s a pro amateur. These are the boxing series. Boxing has changed a lot. I think professional boxing is the way forward. Because why will these amateur boxers fight when they don’t get paid, don’t make much of money (in amateur boxing). It’s not worth it. They have to get another job at the same time.
But isn’t an Olympics medals worth everything?
Having an Olympics medal just changes everything up. You become a superstar overnight and then the big contacts come, big money comes.
Boxing should be an Olympic sport for sure, and then after Olympics people should go professional. Otherwise I think just go professional and do it. Amateur sport is not really at the level it should be, but it can be with the change of few things.