Khan tips Brits for medal success

28 July 2012 / 14:16

Amir Khan has tipped Great Britain's boxers to break the nation's post-war record by winning "seven or eight medals" at the London 2012 Games.

Britain's 10-strong squad begin competition at the ExCel Centre this weekend with high hopes of overhauling the 1956 squad who brought home five medals from Melbourne.

Among performance director Rob McCracken's squad of seven men and three women are a number of favourites in their respective events. That is in stark contrast to 2004, when a 17-year-old Khan was Britain's only boxing representative.

The Bolton youngster captured the public's imagination en-route to a superb silver in Athens, and he admitted there is a tinge of regret that he cannot be part of a home Olympics.

"There's definitely part of me that wishes I was competing in these Games," he said.

"If I had that chance it would be a dream come true, because to have the Olympics in England is massive. It's one of those things. I'm happy with what I've done anyway and happy with the decision I made because I've been a world champion, I've held two world titles. So I've achieved a lot up to now. But I would have loved to have gone to these Olympics.

"I'll still be a part of it because I'm an ambassador for the Games. It's an honour that they have not forgotten me and that they've kept me as part of the Olympics."

The likes of Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua, Andrew Selby and Savannah Marshall are all expected to medal in style, and Khan agrees there is plenty of reason for optimism.

"Our team can do very well," he said. "We have 10 qualifiers, seven guys and three women - one of the women (Marshall) is a world champion.

"The guys are amazing fighters. We have a very good chance of winning probably seven or eight medals. I think that's what we can aim for.

"Let's hope our guys do it. They work hard.

"I hope I can inspire them in any way possible because then, hopefully, they can make themselves big names and then one day turn professional and become financially secure for themselves and their families.

"I'm 100% behind the Olympics because they were the making of me and so I want to show my support for these youngsters."

This summer sees women's boxing introduced for the first time and Khan admits it took him some time to get used to the idea.

"At first I thought it was a bit tough to see a woman fight in a boxing ring and get a beating but after a bit, you realise boxing teaches you discipline and stops you fighting on the streets," he said. "It makes you tough mentally and physically and I don't think people understand what boxing does to you.

"So for a woman I think it would be amazing. They still wear headguards and bigger gloves, it's not like the professionals. I'm a little bit against professional women's boxing, but not amateur.

"Amateur boxing is fine because it's more about computer scoring and therefore more of a chess match, or a fencing match, with the onus on 'hit and don't get hit'.

"The amateurs is perfect but maybe the professional sport is a little bit too tough. You don't want to see a woman with a black eye or a bruised arm or broken hand. It looks a bit rough."