By David Charlesworth, PA
Amir Khan, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist who became a unified world champion at light-welterweight, has announced the end of his in-ring career.
Khan retires with a professional record of 34 wins from his 40 fights, his legacy as one of the most entertaining and finest British boxers of his era secured a long time ago.
The 35-year-old wrote in a short statement on Twitter on Friday morning: “It’s time to hang up my gloves. I feel blessed to have had such an amazing career that has spanned over 27 years.
It’s time to hang up my gloves.
I feel blessed to have had such an amazing career that has spanned over 27 years.
I want to say a heartfelt thanks and to the incredible teams I have worked with and to my family, friends and fans for the love and support they have shown me. pic.twitter.com/VTk0oxVjp2
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) May 13, 2022
“I want to say a heartfelt thanks and to the incredible teams I have worked with and to my family, friends and fans for the love and support they have shown me.”
Khan ends a storied career, in which he also challenged for world titles at welterweight and middleweight, on a losing note after being stopped in the sixth round of a one-sided grudge fight by long-time rival Kell Brook in Manchester in February. Brook announced his own retirement last weekend.
There were controversies along the way – Khan was convicted of several motoring offences – but he is one of a select few from these isles to truly ‘crack’ the United States and the son of Pakistan-born parents did not shirk speaking about difficult topics such as racism and inspired countless other British Asians.
Khan first came to the nation’s attention as a fresh-faced 17-year-old at the 2004 Olympics, losing to Mario Kindelan in their lightweight final in Athens, but the silver the Bolton teenager earned made sure he was Britain’s youngest boxing medallist at a Games.
He gained revenge over the Cuban in his last amateur bout, watched by millions on ITV, then switched to the paid ranks in 2005, dazzling audiences with his lightning reflexes and sharp hand speed.
He showed susceptibility, though, and a suspect chin was exposed in arresting fashion in his 19th professional fight when he was knocked out in 54 seconds by Breidis Prescott in September 2008, prompting Khan to move to the USA and team up with esteemed trainer Freddie Roach.
Three fights and 10 months later, Khan realised a childhood ambition to become world champion, aged 22, after outpointing WBA titlist Andreas Kotelnik in Manchester, a few miles away from where he was born and raised.
Khan thereafter set his sights on America and a victory over Marcos Maidana in December 2010 in a nail-biting epic endeared him to fans on both sides of the Atlantic before he became unified champion at 140lbs the following year by dethroning IBF champion Zab Judah with a vicious body shot to earn a fifth-round knockout win.
He surrendered his belts after a contentious points defeat to Lamont Peterson, whose positive test for a banned substance in the lead-up to the rematch meant Khan was reinstated as WBA titlist.
It was a short reign as he was savagely stopped by Danny Garcia in July 2012, knocked down three times inside four rounds, a defeat that marked the last time he came to the ring holding a major world title.
He dispensed with Roach and rebuilt under Virgil Hunter, who it was felt could improve any defensive shortcomings, and Khan won his next five fights against former titlists or fringe contenders at welterweight although he was unable to persuade Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao into a showdown.
Instead, Khan leapt two divisions to face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May 2016 for the WBC middleweight title but the Mexican ended matters clinically with a devastating one-punch sixth-round knockout.
His reputation, though, was unblemished as Khan was given credit for rolling the dice although there was a suspicion his enthusiasm for the sport was waning by this stage. However, his appeal was cemented with an appearance on reality show ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ in 2017.
Khan was also stopped inside six rounds by WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in 2019 before surprisingly teaming up and training alongside the American in Colorado for his much-anticipated fight against Brook earlier this year.
There would be no storybook ending as Khan’s face was left battered and bruised before he was stopped on his feet in a fight British fans had waited a number of years for.
Khan said retirement was “something to think about, definitely” in the immediate aftermath of his sixth career defeat, adding: “I never want boxing to retire me, I want to retire from boxing.”