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
  • Get to the point
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: QA Technician

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, an experienced and hig...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Plumbing & Heating / Bathroom Trade Counter Sales

£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established London ba...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat