KARACHI: World Boxing Council Silver welterweight champion Amir Khan, yesterday, signalled his intentions of one day headlining a boxing event in Pakistan.
“In my career, one day, I will fight in Pakistan; that is a promise, maybe in a big stadium,” he said. “I just want the people of Pakistan to experience a live fight, so one day I will do that for Pakistan.”
The 29-year-old Brit said that he wants to fight in Pakistan in order to serve the huge fan base he has in the country. “The reason I want to do this in Pakistan is because I have a huge fan base here who watch my fights,” he said. “I want to give something back to them which means I want to show them see a ‘real’ fight.”
He further added that he wants to bring out the country’s abundant boxing talent.
“There is so much talent here; there are many young fighters who would be amazing in the ring,” he said.
“Whenever I go to Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) events, I don’t see countries like Pakistan and it upsets me.
“Aspiring boxers can win medals for Pakistan but they don’t have the facilities. This made me come back here and build the Amir Khan Academy, which will be established in Islamabad in the Jinnah Stadium, and is going to open on June 4.”
The Brit also claimed that he will be sending trainers from England.
“I want to help Pakistan; I know we have so much talent. I want to help Pakistan on the boxing side and I also want to send trainers from England to train young fighters.”
The 29-year-old, meanwhile, also stated he is humbled by comparisons with boxing great Muhammad Ali.
“Being mentioned even in a sentence with him is actually an honour for me,” he said. “And if I can do half of what he has done in his life, I will be satisfied with myself. He was a great fighter.”
The British-born is also torn about where his allegiances will lie when Pakistan’s cricket team tour England.
“I am in the middle. I am from England and I am a Pakistani so whoever wins I will be cheering for them.”
However, the Brit said he is good friends with Pakistani cricketers like Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik, who have supported him in his boxing events.
“Shahid Afridi is very good friend of mine,” he said.
“He texted me a couple of days back saying ‘if you need anything in Karachi let me know’.
“And I remember after the fight against Alvarez, Afridi sent me a message saying ‘Amir, you win some, you lose some. You will be back stronger’.
“So we stay in touch with each other every now and then.”
Amir will be holding a high-end charity event, under the aegis of the Amir Khan Trust, from June 2 to raise funds for drilling two wells in Thar.
The event’s organisers revealed that the international boxer’s tour will stretch over three days with a meet-and-greet at Karachi’s Dolmen Mall taking place today, followed by a public workout at the Frere Hall tomorrow.
The main event, which will feature eight international boxers, will take place on June 2 at the Pearl Continental hotel.
“It is a fund-raising event to drill two water wells in Thar,” the organisers told The Express Tribune. “The main event will be properly recorded as Khan wants to bring international boxing to Pakistan.”
The charges for the main fight night are set at Rs150,000 for a table of 10.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2016.