Sport

‘Funding helps amateurs go all the way’: Bolton’s Amir Khan delighted at UK Sport’s £4million boost for boxing

By Alex Bysouth

Bolton fighter Amir Khan believes the funding awarded to British boxing by UK Sport this week is vital in producing a new generation of first class fighters.

Boxing saw an increase of 44% in funding with UK Sport handing over £13.8million for the four year cycle leading up to Rio’s 2016 Olympic Games.

Khan picked up an Olympic silver medal as an amateur at Athens in 2004 and is under no illusions of the importance funding makes to amateurs in the sport.

“It’s great to see the amateur boxing scene improving and to see that a lot more funding has been giving to amateur boxing,” he said.

“It’s all about funding and if they get the right funding then they can go all the way.”

As a 17-year-old Khan was the only Great British boxer to qualify for Athens and believes the extra £4million awarded this cycle is key to the production of talented young fighters.

“The funding received is what will make most of these amateurs’ great boxers,” he added.

The WBA Light Welterweight World Champion invested £700,000 of his own money into Gloves Community Centre in Bolton to give youngsters in his hometown the opportunity to box.

“The reason I built this gym is because boxing changed my life,” he explained.

“I wanted to give something back to the community and I thought I could do something for the kids and get them off the streets.

“It’s always nice to come to the gym and see all the lads working hard, pushing each other, it’s like a little family here.”

Khan is now back in Bolton, working at Gloves under the guidance of new trainer Virgil Hunter after splitting from American Freddie Roach this summer.

“It’s great to be a part of this team and I like to take time training with them,” said Khan.

“I’m so glad that at this point in my career I have the chance to train here and see these young amateur fighters.

“And we’ve got a great set of professional fighters, there are so many champions that train at this gym and it inspires me as when I see all the titles it makes me work harder.”

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