Boxing: Amir takes his bow in what is a whole new brawl game

Moreover, he might have been defending an Olympic gold medal in London seven years hence had he elected to go on to Beijing 2008 instead of converting his Athens silver into a professional contract.

Amir's highly paid odyssey begins in his home-town Bolton Arena on Saturday, when he makes his pro debut against a London garage mechanic, David Bailey. Amir takes into the ring the good wishes of fight fan Sebastian Coe, who showed he too knows how to deliver the perfect KO. London's success has delighted Amir, even though the nearest he is likely to get to the 2012 Games is perhaps being in the corner of his brother Haroon, 13, who has the potential and present inclination to continue the Khan Olympic dynasty.

By then Amir himself could have succeeded his new stablemate Ricky Hatton as a world light-welterweight champion, a dream he says he hopes to realise by the time he is 25. Which, by coincidence, will be in 2012.

First he must prove himself as a pro and overcome one or two doubters, such as the former three-weights world champion champion Duke McKenzie, who advises we should not got overboard yet. "He is good, but not that good. His achievements have been blown out of all proportion, and I don't think you can look at him yet and say he is another Naseem Hamed."

There will be those who demur, not least the promoter Frank Warren, who has £1 million invested in his prog-ress over the next two years, and on the strength of it has negotiated a deal which sees ITV regularly screening live boxing. Amir's bout will be the first to be be shown under the contract, which covers 20 Sports Network shows a year and should ensure the sport again becomes a mainstream terrestrial TV attractionafter the BBC's ill-starred glove affair with Audley Harrison.

Unlike the former Olympic super-heavyweight champion, Amir will feature only on the undercard during his apprenticeship. The engagement with the 24-year-old Bailey, whose own professional experience has been limited to seven fights, of which he has won three but has never been stopped, is over four rounds. Clearly Warren is not going to get his new protégé "knocked off" at this stage, and who can blame him? But he promises Amir will have a better opposition than Harrison did as his career progresses.

While not top of the bill, because of the novelty value of his debut, Amir's appearance will be the main focus for the television broadcast, even though the main event is the British heavyweight title fight between the defending champion, Matt Skelton, and the former champion Danny Williams.

The outcome is as hard to forecast as was the 2012 Olympic vote in Singapore. Skelton is all heart, hustle and muscle, while Williams has the skill, the punch and the experience to win if he can put it all together on the night.

However, his victory over Mike Tyson was put into perspective when the giant journeyman Kevin McBride then inflicted similar humiliation on the washed-up ex-world champion.

Subsequently Williams was dismantled by the Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko, and so brutal was the beating that you wondered about the wisdom of thelikeable Londoner continuing his career. But the scars have healed and Williams insists he still harbours ambitions to win one of the fistful of world titles, though he does say he will retire if he now loses to an opponent who, for all the breathless assaults of his 16 unbeaten contests, remains a 38-year-old novice.

It is a fight that could be a thriller or a stinker, depending on how effectively Williams counters Skelton's unskilled labours. The Bedford brawler is not someone with whom you stand toe to toe trading punches. Williams has to box clever, be as brave as he was against Tyson and more resilient than he was against Klitschko. That way he can at least regain the title on points over 12 rounds.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen