British boxer Amir Khan speaks out during his Mumbai visit yesterday to promote the Super Boxing League. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
British boxer Amir Khan yesterday said that he was hurt when he first heard that India's top pugilist Vijender Singh wanted to fight him, given the Indian was rather inexperienced on the professional circuit.
Soon after winning the WBO Asia-Pacific Super Middleweight belt in Delhi last year, Vijender had said that he wouldn't mind fighting the Pakistani soon, though they are in different weight categories - Vijender (75kg) and Amir (63 kg).
In the city to promote the franchise-based Super Boxing League (SBL), Amir, an Olympic silver medal-winner, said he felt that India's 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medal-winner had been disrespectful. "Vijender is inexperienced. I have fought the world's top fighters. For him to say he wants to fight me first-up, I thought was disrespectful. I thought this guy has just come onto the scene, so what's he saying? If we did fight, it will be a hard one but I'm confident I will win," said Amir (30) here yesterday.
Fights between boxers of different weight categories are rare, but Amir said this Indo-Pak battle is a possibility.
"You need a storyline to get people involved in a fight and the fight between him and me will be tipped as India vs Pakistan, so it'll get all the hype, if it happens," added the two-time world champion, who was all praise for Vijender nevertheless. "I have seen Vijender fight. I think he's a great fighter. Honestly, I think he's great in India and for promoting boxing in India. He has a very bright future in the profesional circuit as he is winning bouts."
With Indo-Pak sport being discussed, one couldn't help but ask what the Pakistani felt about India snapping sporting ties with their neighbours owing to tension at the border. "I believe India and Pakistan is one country. Sport should unite fans, not divide them. Be it football or cricket, we've never heard of fans fighting."