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Amir Khan: ‘I’d be a superstar if I was white’

December 7, 2009

To us, here at The Twining Chronicles, Amir Khan is a star already. But please read on if you are a Police Officer or are interested in aspects of race relations in this country. This young man is an inspiration to all kids. In the below article, reproduced from the Saturday Times, Amir sends a chilling message to British Muslims. He is proud to be British. He is Muslim and he has condemned acts of terror.  We have highlighted the bits we feel are important in Britain today. Khan is still a rising star in boxing terms and we wish him well.

A STRAIGHT LIFT FROM THE TIMES

 Amir Khan: “Sometimes you don’t see the appreciation”

Amir Khan, the boxer who was portrayed as a perfect image of multicultural Britain when he won an Olympic silver medal in 2004, said that he would be a bigger star if he was white.

Khan, 22, has been booed regularly by boxing crowds in the past year despite winning a world title in July. “It’s probably jealousy and sometimes skin colour does make a difference,” the fighter said. “I would be a superstar in Britain. I never get racial remarks [said to my face], but it’s always out there, which you can’t stop. You just live and learn about what people are like. I just choose to ignore them.”

He makes the first defence of his WBA light-welterweight title against Dmitri Salita in Newcastle upon Tyne tonight, but has said that he would like to box next year in the United States, where he now trains. He said that he suffered abuse after losing in September last year to Breidis Prescott, of Colombia, which was his only professional defeat.

“Straight after the Prescott fight, when people said, ‘He’s finished’, there were racial remarks made. If you go on the message boards and chat forums there are always people who have to get the religious thing in. But it made me stronger, it made me come back stronger and made be a better fighter.

“I’m proud to be British and it’s a very small minority [that mention race], but it does hurt you and it pushes you all the way. I went to the Olympic Games for Britain and won a medal for Britain and then won a world title for Britain but sometimes you don’t see the appreciation.”

Khan shot to fame at 17 when he boxed at the Athens Olympics in 2004 as a young Muslim with a Pakistani background who was proud to be British. He became a household name by reaching the Olympic final, cheered on by a small group of family and friends waving the Union Jack. His father, Shah, became a regular on television and wore a waistcoat with the Union Jack on it.

The boxer has never avoided confronting issues. He made his professional debut nine days after the 7/7 bombings in London and spoke out, condemning the perpetrators. But he has had to walk a tightrope between cultures.

He has lived all his life in Bolton, where one of his MEPs is Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party. He started to get a negative reaction from sections of the crowd after his first defeat, when he was knocked out in just 54 seconds.

Some believe that he is booed because he has been overhyped. Others, including Frank Warren, his promoter, have put it down to rumours of a possible future bout between Khan and Ricky Hatton. But Khan said that he felt religion had no place in sport. His opponent tonight, Salita, is an Orthodox Jew, but both fighters have tried to play down any potential religious rivalry and have shown each other respect.

“I’m a Muslim but I respect other religions and other cultures,” Khan said. “I try to fix things between the Asian community and English community.

“I’m trying to break that barrier and prove to people it’s nothing like that. They have to look that I’m British. I went to the Olympic Games for Britain. I could have chosen to go for Pakistan if we were all like that.”

 

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4 comments

  1. An excellent role model for kids except he was prosecuted for dangerous driving and convicted for careless driving after he broke a mans leg on a crossing.
    That aside I agree with the sentiment.


  2. Amir Khan is still a great talent that has yet to develop into a champion despite the world title! It is not racism its the fact he stated he wanted to stay amateur then turned proffesional. Since turning professional he has been spoon fed his fights, unlike Benn, EUBANKS the tragic and insirational MICHEAL WATSON all true champions of colour who didn’t duck fights or challenges!!


  3. We agree with you both. Welcome again.

    Not sure that Amir ducks fights. He had a big upset when he lost, and that must have knocked him. The kid is strong and he has quick hands. He proved that Saturday gone. And we think he could be as big as some of the others you mention.

    The points Amir was making are that people boo him for no reason. None of the others got that sort of booing we think. So are there right wing idiots at these fights who are booing him? Is he being boo’d because he’s Muslim? He was also saying that there’s a lot of bad mouthing that goes on behind his back. He has some way to go but that negative crap, doesn’t happen to all boxers.

    We wish him the best.


  4. At least boxing has improved since the Minter v Hagler fight and the riot afterwards.



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