Boxing: Pro world to help fund Amir's amateur ambition

Amir Khan, who received an Olympian welcome when he watched Ricky Hatton produce a truly world-class performance to retain his WBU light-welterweight title at the MEN Arena in Manchester on Friday night, could soon be appearing on the same bill as his "Hitman" hero. But not necessarily as a professional.

Frank Warren, Hatton's promoter, who is in pole position to sign the Athens silver medallist if and when he decides to go pro, has made a revolutionary proposal which could see Amir remain an amateur for as long as he wishes while gaining experience in the professional arena.

Warren, who will hold formal talks with Amir and his advisers this week, has already begun negotiations with the Amateur Boxing Association of England to feature top amateurs, including Amir, on future Sports Network promotions. I understand the ABA are keen on the idea, as it would enable them to retain Amir's services at least for the time being, provide vital income for the sport - and help fund their own proposed £70,000-a-year deal for Amir.

In return, Warren would have first option on Amir when he makes his decision to discard his vest. This could be after the World Amateur Championships next July, seven months after Amir becomes eligible to sign a professional contract at 18.

Warren revealed last night: "I have had a meeting with top officials from the ABA and they seem to like the idea. We have already featured amateurs on our professional shows in Scotland, and this could be a constructive way to help youngsters stay amateur longer. Obviously, this includes Amir if this is really what he wishes.

"I would like him to turn professional as soon as possible, because I think he could be boxing's Wayne Rooney, and staying amateur is always a risk. He may never be hotter than he is now.

"But there is no way he will be rushed into anything. He must do whatever he feels comfortable with. Just look at the reception he got in Manchester. He really seemed to savour the atmosphere.

"I think he has the flavour of the professional game now, but only he knows when he will be ready. He's a nice, level-headed lad. At the end of the day it has to be his decision. It is his life, his career.

"I'm happy to outline what I have in mind. It may suit him, it may not. But I'm not the only person interested. I just hope someone doesn't come along and throw silly money at him. This could ruin his career. He needs to be nurtured."

No UK promoter is better placed than Warren, with his unrivalled professional resources and global connections, to do this, as Hatton, who himself turned professional at 18, will testify. A week short of his 26th birthday he is already a multi-millionaire and, after becoming the first man to stop the American Mike Stewart, is now the mandatory challenger for the IBF title to be contested by top men Kostya Tszyu and Sharmba Mitchell in Phoenix next month. He is also the No 1 challenger for the WBO title recently acquired by Miguel Cotto.

"Now we go for the big ones," declared Hatton, who admitted he took out his frustrations on Stewart after feeling let down in the summer when major fights failed to materialise. His five-round, three-knockdowns victory was inflicted with a hurtful intent far more impressive than Mitchell's points conquest of the same opponent.

"That was more like it," said a reinvigorated Hatton, who admits he would be happy to take a pay cut to ensure a shot at a more meaningful title than the version he has now defended 14 times. "I'll prove my critics wrong and bring back those belts," he vowed. "Have faith in the Hitman."

Hatton would be delighted to have fellow Lancastrian Amir as an eventual stablemate and sparmate, and it is even conceivable they could be future opponents, for the still-growing Bolton light-weight is sure to move up a division as a pro. "But I hope I will have hung up my gloves by then," laughed the Mancunian.

Amir confessed to a dilemma as he weighs up his options. "It was brilliant to be here and taste the atmosphere," he said. "My aim has always been to become a professional world champion but I would still like an Olympic gold medal." He seems in a win-win situation.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy