Boxing: Return of Khan inspires amateurs

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The Independent Online

The Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan returns to the ring next Friday to meet America's Mike Evans in Liverpool. It will hopefully be the first of 25 fights before next November's World Championships in China.

The Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan returns to the ring next Friday to meet America's Mike Evans in Liverpool. It will hopefully be the first of 25 fights before next November's World Championships in China.

Khan's bold plan is part of the Amateur Boxing Association of England's new initiative to present their sport as a thoroughly modern business.

During the next 12 months the BBC will screen seven international amateur boxing events starting with Khan's fight next week which will be shown live at 7pm on BBC2.

In addition to the lucrative tie-up with the BBC, the ABA are close to agreeing a deal with the professional business which would see amateurs fight on professional shows. The shows, called Pro-Am, already exist in France, Spain and Portugal and from next year up to six events could take place in Britain.

Khan's rise from virtual obscurity has totally changed the way that amateur boxing in Britain is viewed. In addition to the increased coverage and media interest there has been an amazing increase in numbers at hundreds of amateur boxing gyms throughout Great Britain.

Khan will not turn 18 until next month but during his five fights at the Athens games he established himself as not just the future of amateur boxing but in many ways as the future of the professional code.

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