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June 2, 2016

Amir committed to revive Pakistan boxing

Sports

June 2, 2016

KARACHI: Pakistan’s boxing has been passing through the worst phase of its history. During the decades-long era of former AIBA and Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) chief late Professor Anwar Chwodhry Pakistan had a say in international circuit in the discipline.

But after Chowdhry severed ties with the sport because of his health issues in the final years of his life, his successors failed to run the sport in a smooth manner.

Pakistan’s boxers last featured in Olympics in 2004 in Athens.

The nation needs a person who can work differently and revive the sport. British boxer and former world champion Amir Khan vows to revive Pakistan’s boxing by establishing academies and gymnasiums all over the country with the assistance of Pakistan government.

“There is immense talent in Pakistan but it is being wasted. There is no playing facility. Had there been any good facility in Pakistan Mohammad Waseem would not have opted to train in Las Vegas. He would have trained here,” Amir said at a press briefing here at the Pearl Continental Hotel.

Amir, who lost to Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez in his recent fight in the United States, is in Karachi to launch pro boxing in Pakistan and generate fund to drill clean water wells in Thar where people do not have the basic facilities of life.

“At our academies we will promote amateur boxing. They will be open for everyone. We can produce world champions,” Amir added.

He said he would be going to launch the first academy in Islamabad on June 4.

He was quick to add that the government’s help would be of immense importance in his cause.

“All this will not be possible without the support of Pakistan government. I am committed and want to do something for Pakistan’s boxing,” the 2004 Athens Olympics silver medallist stressed.

He was flanked by Chief Marketing Officer Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Naved Asghar, a representative of British and Irish Boxing Authority and the pro boxers from England and Ireland who would compete on Thursday (today).

His father Shajjad Khan, uncle Tahir Mehmood and younger brother Haroon Khan, a former Pakistani boxer, were also present on the occasion.

About the Lahore academy Amir said later in interaction with this correspondent that the government had not yet given him land for the purpose.

“I am waiting for the government to give us land for the purpose,” Amir added.

He also plans to establish an academy in Karachi and Peshawar. About the coaching mechanism, Amir said he would bring coaches from Britain and other places to train boxers. “Initially we will definitely bring coaches from abroad. They will groom the local coaches and after some time we will have a pool of well-trained local coaches,” the boxer said.

Asked why no one from the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) had been invited to the briefing, Amir said there were certain problems. “You know there are a lot of differences here. They should fix their problems and join hands for the revival of Pakistan’s boxing. I will help them bridge their differences if they want,” Amir said.

He added that through the pro event Amir Khan Trust (AKT) was going to generate fund which would be spent on drilling water wells in Thar. “I saw in a video clip that the people of Thar are facing severe problem of clean drinking water. We have to extend our hundred percent support to them,” Amir added.

His father Shajjad told ‘The News’ that their main effort would be to promote amateur boxing. After serving the country for some time the boxers “might then turn pros”.

He said the boxers in the academies would also be given monthly stipends. Amir thanked Rangers, Police and Army for making their presence here secure. “All our boxers here feel secure. Everyone is excited and we will see some real fights,” Amir said.

The foreign boxers who will be fighting on Thursday (today) are Tasif Khan, Gallagher Dayl, Jody Meikle, Stuart Maddox, Fracis Peter Douglas Croes and Phil Townley.  Haroon is not likely to play as his opponent is injured, a source said.

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