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Wednesday, 17 December 2014
“If you want to achieve something in life, you need to work hard. It’s all to do with hard work. It’s about having a dream and chasing that dream. If you lose, you should work harder. Chase your dreams.” These were the words that boxer Amir Khan, fresh from a weekend in Las Vegas which had seen him retain his WBC Silver Welterweight title, delivered to two hundred Bolton School boys aged 7 to 11 years. Addressing the Junior School in an inspiring talk he told them that boxing had taught him discipline and how to behave. His family had encouraged him from an early age to join the gym to burn off his extra energy after he had finished his school and mosque studies. He advised the youngsters to revise, work hard and study.
In an engaging question and answer session, Khan recalled how he had achieved his dream early in life when he became the youngest British Olympic boxing medallist, picking up a silver medal at the age of 17 in the Athens 2004 games. He told the boys that boxing is like a game of chess and it is important to have your feet in the right position. Utilising one of the boys he showed the audience how difficult it can be to fight a “south paw” (a left-handed boxer) as the pugilists’ feet can clash. Recapping his career, he recalled his first fight at age 11 against Michael Clark in Stoke on Trent and he said that all his opponents to date had been difficult. He admitted it is hard boxing in front of thousands of people and that you need to deliver a punch perfect performance. Prior to a fight he said he has a mixture of nerves and excitement but as soon as the bell rings the adrenalin kicks in and he focuses on the job to be done. During his amateur and professional career, he said he won 101 fights and lost 9. During his professional career, he had won 30 fights and lost 3. He told the boys that the secret is when you lose, at any sport, you need to learn from this, accept it, and come back stronger. Asked what his inspiration had been, he answered unequivocally that it had been his admiration of Muhammad Ali. Answering the question of what he would have become had he not been a boxer, he hoped he might have been involved in Sports Science but joked that he might have ended up stacking shelves!
Looking to the future, he said he was determined to fight the undefeated Floyd Mayweather next year. Mayweather had told him to prove himself and he said he had done this by retaining his WBC title.
You can view a Granada Report news item on Amir Khan, including his visit to the Junior Boys' School here (the video link is about one third of the way down the page).
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