Amir Khan claims he owed it to his family to quit because he knew he could get seriously hurt or killed in the ring.
Khan was aware of the dangers every time he stepped between the ropes and he was no longer prepared to take those risks. He has retired after a glittering career which saw him win Olympic silver in 2004 at just 17 and become the unified light-welterweight world champion.
Khan, 35, became a huge star on both sides of the Atlantic and headlined at iconic venues such as Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas’ MGM and T-Mobile Arena. He says it was time to put his wife Faryal and his three children first and enjoy the tens of millions he has earned from his 17 years as a pro.
“Yeah, you’re always one punch away from getting hurt,” he said. “I’ve got a beautiful family, beautiful kids, I’ve got enough money in the bank so let’s sit back and relax. Why continue when anything can happen? You’re only one punch away from getting hurt, knocked out or killed. While I’ve got the chips on my side, I’m happy to walk away and call it a day. You’re always one punch away from getting hurt, that’s something I was always scared of, I wouldn’t be there for the kids. There’s no point making all this money and you don’t enjoy it.”
Khan could have earned several million for fighting Conor Benn and says he knew he was finished during his camp for his defeat to Kell Brook in February. He claims he was not fit to face Brook because he was plagued by injuries, but did not want to let his fans down by pulling out of the fight.
“When I was in training camp, I got injuries, but I didn’t want to tell people about that because I didn’t want people to say ‘Amir is making excuses’,” said the Bolton fighter. “I tore my rotator cuff, my tendon split in half in my right arm, it’s still sore now and I can’t lift it up much.
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“Then my knees were hurting in training camp. I was still pushing myself hard and that’s when it hit me, ‘do you know what, I don’t have it left in me’. But I couldn’t let anyone down, the fans down, it was such a fight, I can’t walk away from this fight, so I’m going to go ahead with it. But deep down in my mind, I wasn’t mentally prepared. I’d worked hard, don’t get me wrong, I’d trained hard, but I didn’t have it in me. I was already done as a fighter. That’s when it hit me.”
Khan plans to remain in boxing as a promoter and pundit and hopes fans will remember him as an entertaining fighter. He added: “I tried to give everyone the biggest fights they ever wanted, had them on the edge of their seats and win, lose or draw, it was always an exciting night whenever Amir Khan fought.”