Boxing: Khan claims he would have won gold in Beijing

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The Independent Online

Amir Khan believes "there is no doubt" he would have won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics had he not turned professional last year. The 19-year-old from Bolton won silver in the 2004 Athens Games.

He opted to turn professional following that success in Greece and so far he has lived up to his potential in the paid ranks following a victorious rematch with his Olympic conqueror, the Cuban legend Mario Kindelan.

The lightweight, who hopes to face a former amateur opponent, Craig Watson, at the Bolton Arena on 2 September, said: "If I had stayed amateur I would definitely have won the 2008 Olympics. If I had gone to Beijing, there is no doubt I would have won the gold medal easily.

"I was only 17 in Athens, but now I'm stronger and physically and mentally getting better as a fighter. I could be a professional champion by the time the Olympics come around and that was the chance we decided to take.

"I know I can win a world title and if I do that before the 2008 Olympics it will prove it was the right decision. I know I can do it. It's 2006 now and I can easily win a world title within two years."

Khan's record now stands at eight victories with no defeats but he says he has "unfinished business" with Watson, 23, who is the only man to have knocked the teenager down - in an amateur contest last year, before the Bolton teenager roared back to win.

Khan and his promoter, Frank Warren, want to make the rematch for his ninth professional fight. However, Watson's manager, Frank Maloney, said this week that 2 September would be too soon for his fighter, who has been out of the gym for personal reasons.

Khan has warned Watson that this will be his only chance to go toe to toe for a second time.

"In a way I'm giving him a chance to fight me. There are so many people out there who want to but I'm giving Craig Watson a chance to fight me," Khan said.

"These chances won't come again because if I go on, I don't think he'll get a chance to fight me again. Hopefully he'll take it.

"There is unfinished business and I can put things straight by fighting him and showing people that in the first fight it was just a mistake, and prove it in the second fight."