Even though he turned pro in 2005, Amir Khan admits that he still ardently follows amateur boxing and believes India is carving a place for themselves on the global stage.
“I am proud to see the contributions Indian boxing has made to the sport of boxing globally be it in Olympics, or any other tournament,” Khan, the man behind Crypto Fight Night in Dubai on October 16, told Olympics.com
“I don’t want to bias my opinion by taking names, but I respect each of them. I think Indian boxing talent has a lot of potential and I look forward to see may more stars.”
A record nine boxers, including four women, represented India at Tokyo 2020. Assam’s Lovlina Borgohain won the bronze in the women’s welterweight category.
Khan, 34, made a splash on the Olympic stage when he won a silver in the lightweight division at Athens 2004. Only 17 years of age then, Khan had become the youngest Olympic medalist from Great Britain. That feat laid the foundation of a successful career in boxing. He won a WBA title at the age of 22 to once again become one of the youngest world champions in professional boxing from Great Britain.
The British boxer traces his roots back to Pakistan and has tried to put the region on the boxing map since he turned professional. Though Khan has never fought against India’s most high-profile pro boxer Vijender Singh, he is scheduled for a bout against Neeraj Goyat next year in India.
“This is the most hotly anticipated bout,” Khan said. “From my perspective, this bout will ensure a healthy connection between the two nations (India and Pakistan) both in the ring and outside the ring as well.”
Boxing, being a contact sport, has taken longer time getting back on its feet than many other sports due to the pandemic. Khan hailed the spirit of his peers, especially those who competed at the Olympics despite the challenges thrown their way.
“It's been a difficult and trying time for most people over last year. We all have lived through last year, taking punches and getting knocked down,” he said.
“But with the performances in Olympics, we made a statement that no matter what punches be thrown at us, we need to keep hitting (back) harder. I saw the fighters across the globe competing in the Olympic tournament. I think all of them did a great job and in spite of the challenges we all faced with the pandemic, we outshone."
Apart from Goyat, other Indian names like Chandni Mehra, Shivani Dahiya, Sandeep Kumar, Sachin Nautiyal, and Abdul Khan will also be competing at the Crypto Fight Night in Dubai.