Boxing: Khan adapts to life in Bolton's fast lane

It is a little unnerving when one of your neighbours achieves the sort of feats that Amir Khan did in the Olympics.

It is a little unnerving when one of your neighbours achieves the sort of feats that Amir Khan did in the Olympics.

Two punches into his first fight, it was obvious that the man in the pub who had been telling me for three years that this kid was going to be a champion was a rather better judge of form than my son, who went to school with him and described him memorably as "just some guy in the year below who thinks he's going to be a boxer". I'm just grateful he never got into a fight with him in the playground.

It wasn't quite the triumphal homecoming yesterday. You had to be at the street-party outside the family home in Tudor Avenue on Wednesday night for that, or on the open-top bus ride to Bolton Town Hall today.

But it was at the press- conference at the Bolton Arena that you saw the future of Britain's silver-medallist taking shape.

Now that he is flanked not just by his dad, Shajaad, and his telegenic coach, Mike Jelley, but also by representatives of a PR agency, a firm of sports lawyers and a specially-formed sports management company, you could see the different directions in which Amir could be dragged.

Take the B-word, for instance. The prepared statement from Davies Arnold Cooper Solicitors, when it had finished explaining that they had organised this conference to try to soak up the media interest and leave him to get back to normality, said only that Amir hoped "to remain an amateur boxer and gain further experience before deciding whether to go professional."

No mention of Beijing 2008 there, but Amir and his original entourage were not so coy. The 17-year-old himself said that falling short of the gold medal "will keep me working harder by giving me something to look forward to at the next Olympics. I'll be training harder than this time."

His father admitted that a couple of interested parties had been in touch. "But 17 is too young to turn professional. The right time would be 21."

Jelley, still bristling at not being allowed in Athens to be in the corner of the fighter he has groomed for the past six years, agrees with that approach, provided the Amateur Boxing Association look after the boxer and his coach.

The ABA will also have to ratify any commercial deals sorted on Amir's behalf by Elite Sports Management, whose Asif Vali said that the interest in him has been "phenomenal".

Amir's own concerns are more prosaic, focusing on catching up with family and friends, not to mention his coursework at Bolton Community College.

"I phoned my teacher the other day and he understood that I've had a lot on recently, so he's extended the deadline."

Everything Amir said to a crowd of 50 or 60 journalists confirmed the impression he gave in Athens of a young man splendidly unaffected by the success that he has achieved so far. "I've got good family support and a good personal coach who'll give me a clip round the ear if I get big-headed."

Asked to reveal any secret gimmick behind his meteoric rise, he was similarly down-to-earth. "When I go down to the gym, I'm just treated the same as everyone else."

That is the way he seems to like it, although Jelley says that his Athens performances have sent interest in amateur boxing through the roof.

"Amateur boxing was withering, but the interest has quadrupled, not just at our club in Bury, but at every club."

Little wonder that the amateurs want to keep him, although there will be plenty of advice to the contrary.

Perhaps the deciding word on the subject came after the gold medal fight in Athens.

"Mario Kindelan asked me 'Are you going to turn professional?' I told him I didn't know and he said 'Don't, because you will dominate at 60 kilos'."

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Domino Developer and Administrator

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?