Dubai can be boxing hub, says Amir Khan

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Bolton-born boxer waiting for a fight with American Mayweather or Filipino Pacquiao

By Sunil K. Vaidya (sports Editor)

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Published: Fri 16 Jan 2015, 11:39 AM

Last updated: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 11:38 AM

British boxer of Pakistan origin, Amir Khan, with Suhail Abdul Latif Galadari, Director of Galadari Brothers LLC at the Khaleej Times office on Thursday. — KT photo by Leslie Pableo

Dubai: With his charming smile and modest handshake, he appeared more like a boy next door with a heart of gold. But that’s British-Pakistani Amir Khan outside the ring. Within the ropes the welterweight boxer is as menacing as others and one of the most feared pugilists, who is waiting for his next ‘big fight’ that could take place in Dubai.

“It will be amazing if it happens in Dubai,” his eyes lit up when asked if his next fight could happen in Dubai. Talking to Khaleej Times during a visit to the office of the first English newspaper in the UAE, Khan expressed keenness to see big time boxing come to the shores of the UAE.

“There’s a big Pakistani community here, a lots of fans can come from Pakistan and with UK only five to six hours away, it would be good for boxing fans to have a fight here in Dubai,” explained Khan, whose parents were born in Pakistan before migrating to Britain.

“If there are right people involved, right team is behind it, then we can have a fight here in Dubai,” he added. He reckons that the fight in Dubai could have a true global profile. “It will be a global fight, we can have American, British, Filipino and Pakistani boxing fans involved along with big television presence from US and UK,” he pointed out.

“It would be good for Dubai and good for me as I will have a bigger fan base here,” he enthused. Any sport in today’s world is about the market value thus Khan cannot be blamed if he picks his opponent between American Floyd Mayweather and Filipino Manny Pacquiao for a possible Dubai fight.  “What sells more in Dubai? I think, it would be Pacquiao,” he pointed out. “There’s a huge Filipino population in Dubai and that makes more sense to fight him (Pacquiao) here.” ‘King Khan’, as he is fondly called is very keen to turn Dubai as a hub for boxing. “My last fight was in Las Vegas, which is called Mecca of boxing but we can turn Dubai as the Mecca of boxing,” he reckons.

Khan, 28, is also in talks to start his Khan Boxing Academy in the UAE. “We already have academies in UK and Pakistan and next may be in the UAE and India,” he hoped. Khan is aiming to produce the next big name in boxing world from his academy. “That will happen one day,” he promises.

A little probing and Khan, in not so many words, confesses that he would like to end Mayweather’s unbeaten run of 49 bouts. “I have a good chance as I am very fast and explosive and Mayweather has never ever faced my style of boxer,” he says. Bolton-born Khan believes that Mayweather is scared of him. “I have given him sort of a deadline (January 16) but there’s no response so far.”

“I need to know whom I am fighting so I can prepare according to my next rival’s fighting style,” he reasoned his deadline to Mayweather. “I would be disappointed if I don’t get to fight either (Mayweather or Pacquiao),” he said in reply to question what if the Mayweather or Pacquiao decide to fight each other. However, he was quick to add that as a huge boxing fan, he would love to see the two fight. “May be, he pointed out, I would later get a chance to fight the winner of their contest,” he smiled and said.

It is an interesting scenario where Pacquiao is waiting for Mayweather’s response to his challenge, demanding equal (50 per cent) share in revenue. And, on the other hand Amir is also waiting for the unbeaten American boxer to take his challenge. For now, Khan may be in dark about his next fight but he is pinning hopes on his favourite cricket teams to give him joy at the cricket World Cup that starts Down Under next month.

“Pakistan is my team but would like to see England take on Pakistan in the final,” he said with a wide grin that gets wider when he talks about his charity initiatives in setting up an orphanage in Gambia and donating his £30,000 worth golden shorts for the Army Public School in Peshawar. sunilvaidya@khaleejtimes.com



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