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Amir Khan won’t box behind closed doors amid virus risk

Agence France-Presse
Former world champion Amir Khan says walking into an arena for a fight without fans is like going to a sparring session

WARY. Amir Khan questions the health measures proposed by the British Boxing Board of Control for staging bouts amid the pandemic. File photo by Andrew Yates/AFP

LONDON, UK – Former world champion Amir Khan has said he will not fight behind closed doors should boxing resume during the coronavirus outbreak.

British officials are looking at July as a possible return date for bouts, albeit these would take place in the first instance without spectators at venues.

“Even though there is big money, I wouldn’t be able to do it as I need the fan base there,” British boxer Khan told the BBC on Saturday, May 9.

“I’ve got 3 kids. I do so much in the sport already and I feel I’d rather be 100 percent sure before I jump back in,” explained the 33-year-old.

Twice a light welterweight world champion after earning an Olympic silver medal as a teenager, Khan won his last bout with a fourth-round victory over Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia in July to take his professional record to 34 wins from 39 fights.

Khan has previously made it clear he wants to end his career with a lucrative bout against ring great Manny Pacquiao or in an all-British contest with Kell Brook – and those fights need a crowd.

“I just feel that for a boxer to walk into an arena and walk into a fight having no fans in an empty stadium, it’s going to be like walking into a sparring session so I can’t really see that working,” he added.

“It’s hard to lift yourself really and get yourself ready for a fight. I can’t see the big names doing that unless there’s ridiculous money from the TV company on the table. You need the audience there to lift your spirits.”

Meanwhile, Khan questioned whether the health measures proposed by the British Boxing Board of Control for staging bouts amid the pandemic, including the testing of boxers, who would isolate at designated hotels, and officials wearing masks during bouts, would be enough to stop the spread of the virus.

“What if someone gets badly injured or catches something from his opponent?” he said. 

“At times when you hit someone with a shot, the spit will come onto you; the sweat will fall on you. When you hit someone, there is going to be blood flying off you and coming onto you.”

“I just feel like it’s going to be very dangerous.” – Rappler.com