Updated: Monday, 13th July 2020 @ 9:36pm

Bolton's Amir Khan says plans to open Gambian orphanage will be 'tougher fight than any inside boxing ring'

Bolton's Amir Khan says plans to open Gambian orphanage will be 'tougher fight than any inside boxing ring'

| By Kenny Lomas

Bolton’s Amir Khan has promised to ‘get his hands dirty’ after announcing plans to open an orphanage for needy children in Gambia.

Khan was speaking at the launch of his new charity, the Amir Khan Foundation, who will aim to provide support for disadvantaged young people around the world.

The Amir Khan Foundation will work with international delivery partner, The Penny Appeal, and use funds raised to support numerous projects including the building of a new orphanage, school and well in the deprived Gunjur region of Gambia, where he recently visited.

“Even though I’ve done other work, I want to be there hands on myself," he told MM.

"I want to get my hands dirty myself, go to different villages and star working.

“I’m a grafter. I like to work hard and be pushed and be challenged, and this is a challenge for me.”

BUILDING FOUNDATIONS: Omid Djalili co-hosted the event

The former world champion is no stranger to hard work, though he knows the road ahead is an altogether different kind of opponent to those he has faced inside the ring.

He said: “In training and everything I’m put through my paces, but this is probably a tougher fight for me than in the boxing ring, because it’s very hard what you see [happening over there].”

Amir said he the experience ‘touched’ him, and fought back tears as he watched a video chronicling the trip for the first time.

CLOSE TO MY HEART: Amir says he has wanted to start the foundation for many years

“I still think about the kids I met, and what they were talking about and the things they were telling me, and it upset me,” he said.

“That’s why when I got back I said let’s do a charity launch quick-time, I want to do this quicker, the sooner the better.

“There was talk of leaving it until December, but I said ‘no, these people need our help. Every day we leave it the longer it goes, these people might be affected, and it hurts, so I can’t see that.”

Speaking prior to the opening launch dinner, Amir said the foundation is something very close to his heart, and plans to grow the foundation beyond Gambia as well as continue to help children in the UK.

GIVING BACK: Amir said he wanted to use his fame to help others

“I’m very proud of it,” Khan told MM. “I’ve been talking about having a foundation for such a long time but it’s about getting the time.

“My recent trip to Gambia with the Amir Khan Foundation team really helped bring my dreams for the charity to life and I hope the money raised will help to make a real difference to communities over there.

"It was a very emotional visit to the village in Gambia and one I will never forget."

FIGHT OF YOUR LIFE: TV presenter Charlie Webster have pledged their support

Speaking after the fundraising dinner, which raised £218,000, Aamer Naeem, CEO of Penny Appeal said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Amir and the Amir Khan Foundation to help facilitate their great plans for the charity.

“The evening was a huge success and it’s great to work with someone who is so passionate – and this is just the start of great things to come for the partnership.”