Amir Khan’s on how he’s ready to snatch Floyd May­weather’s world champ­tion­ship ti­tle.

He’s been la­belled the fastest boxer on the planet with his quick fists and even quicker smile, but now Amir Khan will need all his tal­ent and charm for the most im­por­tant fight of his ca­reer. Colin Drury meets him

Friday - - Front Page -

AAmir Khan, the Bri­tish wel­ter­weight boxer, has never been short of suc­cess. He’s won two world ti­tles, scored an Olympic medal, knocked out 19 of the 34 pro­fes­sional op­po­nents he’s fought and, to­day, aged only 28, sits atop a sport­ing for­tune worth more than Dh110 mil­lion. Now he’s in Dubai con­sid­er­ing set­ting up a box­ing academy.

But if you re­ally want ev­i­dence of Amir’s de­ter­mi­na­tion, de­sire and drive, you might be bet­ter off with look­ing be­yond the ring. Or at least be­yond the box­ing ring.

Back in 2010, he met the New York model and heiress Faryal Makhdoom at a Prada sun­glasses launch in the city. Af­ter be­ing in­tro­duced by friends, he told the then 19-year-old that one day he would marry her. She laughed, said she doubted it and men­tioned box­ing didn’t im­press her. You know what hap­pens next. Not only did the two be­come hus­band and wife at a glitzy Man­hat­tan cer­e­mony in 2013 – with the wed­ding photos fetch­ing a seven-fig­ure sum – the man they call King Khan then per­suaded his betrothed to leave the city that never sleeps and move to his child­hood home­town: Bolton, pop­u­la­tion 130,000, in the north of Eng­land.

It is Faryal who tells me this story to­day. I’m half an hour early to meet the man him­self – at Jumeirah Beach Ho­tel’s 3600 res­tau­rant – and she’s sit­ting at the bar look­ing a mil­lion dol­lars in high heels with even higher hair.

‘New York and Bolton are ob­vi­ously very dif­fer­ent places,’ she says as we wrap up our brief con­ver­sa­tion. ‘But Bolton is lovely. And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll per­suade him to move to Manch­ester.’

They have a one-year-old daugh­ter, La­maisah. As we are talk­ing Amir walks in. There are no burly guards or hang­ers on. He is of slight build but ex­udes power.

The first thing you no­tice about Amir Khan him­self is just how, well, af­fa­ble he is for a bloke who beats peo­ple up for a liv­ing.

That’s not al­ways true of box­ers. It’s been said in­nu­mer­able times – both as a com­pli­ment and a con­dem­na­tion – that when you look into the eyes of Mike Tyson you see a killer. English for­mer pro­fes­sional boxer Ricky Hat­ton was nick­named The Hitman be­cause of his pre­ci­sion at­tacks in the ring and vague air of power wait­ing to be re­leased. Those who met Muham­mad Ali in his prime agreed that be­neath the charisma there was a pal­pa­ble un­der­cur­rent of sheer brute force. With Khan, not so much. It’s prob­a­bly dif­fer­ent, of course, if you hap­pen to find your­self in the ring with him. But, to­day – on hol­i­day, in white jeans, and with La­maisah wait­ing up­stairs

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