Inside Lines: Khan speaks frankly: Why I split and became a Golden Boy
Sunday 14 March 2010
Amir Khan has spoken for the first time about his contentious split with the British promoter Frank Warren. "Frank did great things for me and I'm appreciative of that but it was time to move on," he tells us. "If we meet again I'd be pleased to shake his hand. There is no ill feeling on my part. I know I didn't call him but the fact is Frank and I never spoke on the phone – even when I was in Los Angeles. But I got my dad to call him to say thanks for all he had done. I feel my future is in America with Golden Boy, who have got a great team." Interestingly, Khan, who defends his WBA light-welterweight title against New Yorker Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden on 15 May, could be on a collision course with one of his former stablemates, Kevin Mitchell. Frankie Gavin and Kell Brook are all potential opponents for a domestic challenge to Khan now that Ricky Hatton has apparently decided he has fought a losing battle with the beer and bacon butties. "Retirement is the best move Ricky could make," says Khan. "We could have had a great fight but it seems it will never happen. But it would be good to meet someone from Frank's camp as I know he would love one of his fighters to beat me because of what has happened." By coincidence the unbeaten Mitchell, who knocked out Khan's nemesis, Breidis Prescott, fights for the WBO interim lightweight title against the Australian Michael Katsidis, possibly at Upton Park, on the same night as Khan's clash with Malignaggi. It seems an ideal double-header for Sky but curiously no home TV deal has yet been struck for either fight.
No jolly for Roger
For a mere £195 (plus VAT) the Sports Industry Breakfast Club is offering personal chats over croissants and coffee with four leading lights of sport this year. Among them, just before Wimbledon, will be Roger Draper, the currently beleaguered chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association. Before then, however, the ever-ebullient Draper will have a far less cosy grilling from an all-party group of MPs and peers assembled by the Sports Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, to inquire into just what is going wrong with British tennis. Sutcliffe called for this inquisition even before the Davis Cup débâcle in Lithuania and is said to be "tired of excuses" for the failure of the sport to produce results, and may even consider cutting funding to the already stone-rich governing body. Draper's administration – he joined the LTA after a similar post at Sport England and is said to be on £750,000 a year – has come under close scrutiny but calls for him to resign are unlikely to be heeded.
Beeb cool on Paralympics
The Winter Paralympics are under way in Vancouver and there are hopes that the dozen athletes representing Britain (five curlers and seven skiers) will bring home more medals than their able-bodied counterparts. But the BBC are treating it as a low-key event, showing only one hour of highlights on BBC2 on Monday week. This compares to the 160 hours devoted to the Winter Olympics. The reason, they say, is "budget restrictions and the time factor". Cold comfort for the Paralympians who are striving to show that what they do can be as exciting and watchable as the other Games last month.
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