The Ever-Daring, Inspiring, Passionate, & King of his Game
(Professional Boxer & CEO Aamir Khan Foundation)
A PROFESSIONAL BOXER, WHO HAD A SUCCESSFUL BOXING CAREER HIGHLIGHTED BY WINNING A SILVER MEDAL IN THE 2004 ATHENS OLYMPICS AT THE AGE OF 17, WHICH EARNED HIM THE DISTINCTION OF BEING THE YOUNGEST BRITISH OLYMPIC MEDALIST. RAISED IN BOSTON, THE PAKISTANI BRITISH BOXER – AAMIR KHAN HAS BEEN REWARDED AS AN OLYMPIC MEDALIST TWO-TIME WORLD CHAMPION – FORMER UNIFIED WBA (SUPER) AND IBF LIGHT WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION. BEING A FAMILY ORIENTED PERSON, AAMIR KHAN BEGAN A CHARITABLE TRUST, ‘AAMIR KHAN FOUNDATION,’ WHICH HE ENTRUSTED FOR THE BETTER LIVELIHOOD OF THOSE AFFECTED BY ANY CAUSE. FURTHER, HE HAS ALSO PLAYED A VITAL ROLE IN BRINGING A PLATFORM FOR TRAINING THE YOUTH OF PAKISTAN IN THE FIELD OF BOXING.
“I FELT A CONNECTION WITH BOXING THE FIRST DAY I ENTERED THE GYM AND KNEW THAT THIS IS WHAT I WANTED TO DO WITH MY LIFE.”
BM: Out of all the other sports in England, what motivated you to choose boxing? Was it your passion or you were forced to choose it as a career?
AK: I was hyperactive as a kid, always running around the house, so to burn off my energy my dad took me to the local boxing gym. It was from there I learned about the sport and fell in love with it. I just felt a connection with boxing, the first day I entered the gym and knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life.
BM: Your family has always been supportive with your career, is it still the same after marriage?
AK: Of course, my family always supports me and gives me their full encouragement even if, at times, it can be hard for them. I have great family support from my wife and parents who have helped me to succeed and achieve special things in the sport.
BM: No wife wants to see her husband all beaten up and bruised, what is Faryal’s reaction after every fight since marriage? Has she ever told you to quit boxing?
AK: I think both her and my mom wants me to call it a day. They are concerned for me which is natural because boxing is the toughest sport but I know I still have some good years left in me and that I’m reaching my peak. They understand this and even though it can be hard at times, they are still behind me.
BM: Define your boxing style to our readers?
AK: I’m quick, skillful and explosive with fast hands and feet!
BM: You are known for your speed punches, how did you develop this speed?
AK: It’s natural – you can’t really teach speed. There are little things you might be able to do to get a bit sharper but speed is something which comes naturally. I’m lucky to have that in my arsenal.
BM: What is that one technique that makes you win the fights?
AK: There isn’t really just one technique because at the highest level you need more than just power or speed; you need to have a mix of skills like a good sense of range. For example when you enter the ring and stand before your opponent, you have to catch the best timings and get in and out of the ring without getting caught. Apart from this, there are so many other things you need to keep intact.
BM: Who is your toughest competitor till date?
AK: I think stepping up two weight classes to fight Canelo Alvarez was the toughest fight I had to date. But I’ve also been in wars with other big punchers like Marcos Maidana which was a very tough fight for me but a great win.
BM: Which is the most memorable fight and victory of your career?
AK: I think winning my first world title against AndriyKotelnik was the most memorable – every champion never forgets that moment. That’s what we strive for as boxers so to achieve that was something I will always remember.
BM: Tell us about Aamir Khan Foundation? What made you work on this especially for children?
AK: I have always wanted to try and give back. I’m very lucky to have the career I have, and the position that I’m in; so it was something that I always wanted to do. I have a little girl myself and I know how much care children need so it was something that always resonated with me. There are many poor kids out there without parents or food or clean water so whatever I can do I will always try to help through the AK Foundation. We have built an orphanage in Gambia and I’m hoping we can do many more projects like that.
BM: What were your expectations from HBL Superstar Boxing Event?
AK: It was a great success and I’m hoping we can grow the tournament and as a result grow boxing in Pakistan. There is a great pool of talent here and we just need to tap into it. Tournaments like this bring exposure to boxing in Pakistan and I hope we can have many more events in the future.
BM: Was it difficult to bring BIBA boxers to Pakistan? Is it going to be a tough fight between all?
AK: The boxers themselves wanted to come and fight here and BIBA were very good in helping facilitate that. Now we have done the first event people will see Pakistan is a safe country and that boxing has great potential to grow here. We will of course have teething problems but that is the same with anything new.
BM: How did Haroon came into boxing? Was he inspired by you or you forced him to choose boxing?
AK: I think it is in our blood to be honest. We come from a warrior background so I think Haroon just picked it up naturally, too. I’m sure seeing me has encouraged him but he has natural talent himself and will go far in the sport as long as he is fully dedicated and focused.
BM: How was your experience being part of Super Fight League?
AK: It was great being part of it and having a stake. It was something new for me because my background is obviously boxing based. I like to try new things and Super Fight League is already well established with some fantastic MMA fighters but there are still many levels we want to get to. I’m sure over the next few years the company will grow even more as people around the world become familiar with us because we have a great concept and structure in place.
BM: Any plans on opening up Aamir Khan Academy in Pakistan?
AK: This is one of my hopes! We are looking at a few places at the moment and I definitely hope to open academies throughout Pakistan soon. This is the next step for us to help boxing grow in the country. I want to give a platform for young kids to come and learn the sport and have great facilities in which to workout.
BM: When are we seeing the pride of Pakistan in the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) and the World Boxing Hall of Fame (WBHF)?
AK: I was actually there last year in Canastota, New York, where it is based. I was invited to come and visit and it was a great time seeing all the legendary fighters and history there. It’s my dream to get in there. I have to try and cement my legacy with great fights and keep working hard, then hopefully when I do hang up the gloves I will be inducted in one day.
BM: Any message you would like to give to the aspiring boxers and your fans?
AK: To the fans, thank you for all your support down the years – it really means a lot to me. To aspiring boxers, just keep working hard and never give up on your dreams.