Friday, May 13, 2022

Amir Khan’s great legacy was “inspiring others” as he confirmed his retirement after Brook’s defeat

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Khan confirms he is bowing out after his sixth-round knockout in February, ending a 27-year association with boxing

“It’s time to hang up my gloves,” Khan said in a statement. “I feel blessed to have such an amazing career spanning 27 years.

Amir Khan has confirmed his retirement from boxing following his loss to Kell Brook in February.

“I want to say a heartfelt thank you to the incredible teams I’ve worked with, as well as my family, friends and fans for the love and support they’ve shown me.”

The 35-year-old is leaving the sport alongside Brook following their grudge match in Manchester, with Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom hinting earlier this week that Khan’s career is over.

“When you just come out of a fight, you can’t comprehend that you won’t fight again,” Shalom said Sky Sports. “Amir looked at everything possible. Amir wants the big fights. But with Amir, I think he will follow the same path as Kell.”

Khan first rose to prominence as a silver medalist for Team GB at the Athens 2004 Olympics and later became world light welterweight champion.

He held the WBA belt from 2009 to 2012 after defeating Andreas Kotelnik and won the IBF title two years later by defeating Zab Judah. He exits with a 34-6 record that included impressive defenses against Paulie Malignaggi and Dmitry Salita.

By 2011 he was no longer infallible and was rocked by a loss to Lamont Peterson. The titles were gone, and while he was briefly reinstated as the WBA champion when Peterson failed a drug test, he was KO’d by Danny Garcia in his next fight.

Undeterred, Khan put together a five-fight unbeaten streak. But the most humiliating blow of all was yet to come, a devastating sixth-round knockout by Canelo Alvarez. It signaled an all-too-brief flirtation with the middleweight division, which was brutally trimmed.

Never one to shy away from the biggest shots, he was on the verge of fighting another all-timer in Manny Pacquiao — those talks eventually collapsed — when he returned to welterweight. But his chin was bare, and it was two years before he returned after his humiliation in Nevada.

When he finally came back, he slipped past Phil Lo Greco before making his move against Samuel Vargas. Again it triggered a false dawn and his battle with Terence Crawford, a true great among his contemporaries, went a step too far.

It all ended with Brook, a fitting finale given their long-running feud that outlasted their later struggles.

Perhaps his greatest legacy is just beginning to emerge. On his last undercard, the main event was preceded by another flourishing performance from Adam Azim. As a six-year-old, Azim had sat ringside in one of Khan’s bouts, inspired by a fighter who was breaking down boundaries for British Asian men.

Khan had often spoken of feeling left out in his sport, often noting that he was the only British-Pakistani in attendance when he came to his amateur shows. For those who followed him, Khan was a beacon and a trailblazer, and it is how he will be best remembered.

“Boxing shaped me and gave me a platform,” he said. “And I’ve proudly used it to help and inspire others.”

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