Role model to millions of people, World Boxing Champion Amir Khan, who won Athens 2004 Olympic Silver Medal for Britain at the age of 17, is a philanthropist outside the ring.
In an exclusive interview conducted in Karachi he held: “When I fought for these world titles it was very difficult. Nothing in life comes easy. But one thing to the viewers is if anyone has any dream in life you have to work hard to achieve it.
“Don’t give up. Never give up in life. It is very hard to achieve what you want to achieve in life. But as long as you keep working hard, one day, you know, you will achieve your dream!”
AIMAN INAM: Tell us about your early days and life?
AMIR KHAN: Early Days! I was born in Bolton, a small town in Manchester. I was very hyper-active! I was very naughty in school! And the teacher used to always say to me: “I am going to call your parents to school, because you misbehave too much! They have to monitor you! Make sure you are OK!”
So what my dad did – he took me to a boxing club. You know! Since then I started to behave in school! The teacher called my father and asked my father: “What have you done to Amir? Because he is totally changed”.
What boxing taught me was discipline. Because of that I totally changed the way I live; the way I treat people; how I respect people. And also I know not to fight, or not to mess around! Because I am a professional fighter now! There are so many people who look up to me. I am a role model to millions of people around the world. So I have to, you know, do the right things in life!
AIMAN INAM: Tell us about your experiences and the biggest achievement of your life?
AMIR KHAN: Obviously, the biggest achievement was going to Olympic Games. And then winning the world title. I was the first ever Pakistani to win the world title. No one has ever won a world (boxing) title – been a Pakistani.
It is a great honor for me to win the World Championship. It was not easy. It was very hard. I was a smaller guy. I was a younger guy. When I fought for these world titles it was very difficult. Nothing in life comes easy. But one thing to the viewers is if anyone has any dream in life you have to work hard to achieve it.
Don’t give up. Never give up in life. It is very hard to achieve what you want to achieve in life. But as long as you keep working hard one day, you know, you will achieve your dream. But one thing about our young Pakistani children is they need to work hard. We need them to work hard and have focus and have an ambition. To have an ambition in life, to become the best. That’s the only reason you will achieve something.
I will tell you about myself. I used to wake-up every morning and I used to be like: ‘One day I will become the World Champion!’ I used to always wake-up in the morning have one thing in my head: ‘I am going to become a World Champion! I’ll have my dream and I will have my ambition’. I kept training and training and now MashaAllah I am now in this position.
I am World Champion now. I won big fights. I am a big name around the world, not only in Pakistan, but in England, America, Europe. All over the world. So, it is just a great feeling to be in this position. And also I hope I’ll inspire more people. I want to inspire the young, the youth to do what I’ve done. Because Pakistan is a country which has a lot of talent. But we have to now put them on the right path. We have to support them. So, all the people now have to support the children, tell them: ‘Look if you want to achieve something in life then go for it, we support you 100%.
And that’s why I have come myself to Pakistan. So I can support people myself. I am going to coach myself the youth of Pakistan. I am going to coach them; I am going to train them; I am going to hold pads for them; I am going to teach them technique. Because I want Pakistan to improve in boxing.
AIMAN INAM: You have been to different countries like in Europe and America? Did you ever feel racism there?
AMIR KHAN: No! You know, to be honest with you; I have never experienced any racial stuff, never. It is nice to be seen as a people’s Champion. Wherever I go to, Europe: In Germany, England, France… I never ever experience any racism.
People like me. Even in England they say I am the son of England. They love me in England, that’s where I live. The Queen always invites me for like the tea … So MashaAllah! I am in a great position. Where I am loved by so many people.
I think it is not only because of boxing. I think it is about what I am like as a person. As a person, I am a very down-to-Earth guy. I respect everybody. I treat everybody nice. And at the same time, you know, I do a lot of charity work as well. So people like the charity work I do.
AIMAN INAM: Tell us about your Charity Foundation.
AMIR KHAN: I have the Amir Khan Trust. And in the UK I have the Amir Khan Foundation. Basically we do a lot of work. For example, when the earthquake happened, we were in Pakistan straight away, in Muzaffarabad. Then when the floods happened, I went to Nowshera, Charsadda… And then when the APS school killing happened – the children. I was there, at the APS School.
One thing about me is I like to go there myself and see, and experience and help: When the floods happen, I give them clothing, I give them food, I supply clean drinking water. When the Earthquake happens, I supply clothing, rebuild homes.
So you know! Allah has given me this big name. I want to utilize my name the right way. For example, helping the poor people, the right way. For example, collecting donations. Giving to charities and giving to poor people!