At 32, Amir Khan is in the final stages of preparing for his 38th fight, and looking to win a fourth world title, a potential win he describes as “If I win, my legacy will be cemented and I could walk away from the sport as a hero, as a legend.”
Amir Khan knows the magnitude of his fight against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford this weekend. But, no matter the result, the legacy he speaks of extends beyond his exploits in the ring.
Khan announced himself to the British public at the 2004 Olympics, where he was Great Britain’s only boxer. A British Asian just as proud of his Bolton roots as of his Muslim and Pakistani heritage, Khan won silver and became a poster boy for the sport. A win that has inspired many Asian kids, who view him as their role model.
15 years after, 26-year-old Qais Ashfaq, has shared his story of how Amir Khan motivated him to become a professional boxer, since he was 11-year-old.
“I remember my coach saying, ‘This kid (Amir Khan)is from Bolton, If he can do it, why can’t you? To this day, that has always stuck in my head. He was right. Amir’s story motivated me because there weren’t many Asians who had made it in sport.”
Ashfaq is unbeaten in five professional fights after a successful amateur career. The promising super-bantamweight, said: “He is a strong role model and shows that people should never give up.”
Also, 19-year-old super-welterweight, Hamzah Sheeraz, said “Amir is the biggest reason why young Asians are now getting into the sport…”
Khan who has suffered some back-to-back loss recently has been applauded for his resilience and willingness to fight the best, including stepping up two divisions to meet Mexican middleweight star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2016.
“I never let things get to me,” Khan said. “When people are putting me down, I just rise up from it and take on bigger challenge.”
From winning Olympic silver at 17 to becoming unified world champion at 25, Khan has had a huge impact on British boxing.