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
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