British Olympic medal-winning boxer Amir Khan on Tuesday said that he was impressed with the Indian boxing talent and decided to form the Super Boxing League (SBL), a franchise-based league to be held in July-August.
“I rate Indian boxing very highly and that’s the reason I and (English businessman) Bill (Dosanjh) decided to come to India and form this SBL. There are very good fighters here,” Khan said.
Dosanjh and Khan are joint promoters of SBL which will have eight city-based teams and is scheduled from July 7 to August 12. The star British boxer, who clinched a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, heaped praise on Indian boxers Vijender Singh and Mary Kom — both Olympic medal winners. “I have seen a couple of (Indian) fighters in Olympics, Commonwealth Games. Vijender (Singh) is one — I am very impressed with what I see. (MC) Mary Kom is another fighter I am impressed with — the style.
“Every fighter in India is different and that’s what I like. What India has done in Olympics and Commonwealth Games, winning medals in major tournaments is brilliant. It shows that India needed something like SBL,” the 30-year-old boxer said.
Interestingly, SBL does not have approval from national boxing body Boxing Federation of India.
Undeterred by BFI’s opposition Khan said that SBL will provide something “new” for the Indian fans and stressed that the upcoming league will help Indian boxing.
“It (SBL) will help Indian boxing quite a bit. I don’t think India has had anything like this. This is not only good for the Indian boxers to get involved, it is also going to be good for fans. SBL is going to give them (Indian boxers) a chance to make good money and a name for themselves,” he said.
The pugilist said he was inspired by heavyweight boxing legend, the late Muhammad Ali, because of his contribution — both inside and outside the ring.
“He (Ali) did a lot of charity work. He changed boxing.
He spoke highly of himself and he hyped the fight. He was a hero of mine,” said Khan.
Khan’s most memorable bout remains the Athens Olympics final, where he clinched the silver medal that got him recognition as a 17-year-old.
He lost to Cuban Mario Kindelan in the final.
“I was just 17 when I went to the Olympic Games. Winning a silver medal (is memorable). Yes I lost in the final but that is the fight which made me, even though I lost it,” he recalled.
He sounded unhappy about the scoring system in amateur boxing and feels it needs to be improved.
“When I was hitting Mario Kindelan (in the 2004 Olympics final), nothing was happening. I don’t like the scoring system. We want to see an aggression, a fight, punches that count,” he signed off.
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