Pakistani-British boxer Amir Khan has already made waves in his native England. With his Bollywood good looks and brash style he has been entertaining the masses of British boxing fans for the past few years. And, with his lightning quick punches and ring savvy, he has also captured the attention of boxing experts. But, Khan was now taking his traveling circus to America for his fight against Paulie Malignaggi in the media center of the world, Madison Square Garden, New York City. Would Khan take the Big Apple by storm? Or would the story of this punching Pakistani get lost in translation in the United States?
Amir Iqbal Khan was born and raised in Bolton, England. His grandparents had emigrated from Pakistan in the 1950â€™s. He started boxing competitively at the early age of 11. And, by the age of 16 he had won a gold medal in the Junior Olympics. At age 17 he was an Olympic medalist, winning a silver medal at the 2004 Athens games. He concluded his amateur career in 2005 with a record of 100 wins and 2 losses. Khanâ€™s rise through the professional ranks has been just as rapid. By 2008 he had become the WBA International lightweight champion, and in 2009 he added the WBO Inter-continental title, and subsequently the Commonwealth Lightweight title, to his mantle. He finally encountered his first real adversity in September of 2008 when he was knocked out in the first round against a larger fighter, Breidis Prescott. After changing trainers twice, and changing his promoter, he finally came under the wing of former world champion Oscar De La Hoya, owner of Golden Boy Promotions. He also began training with Freddie Roach, trainer of current world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, with whom Amir began to train as well. The momentum was now building to take the Amir Khan Show outside the United Kingdom.
Khan took on native New Yorker Paulie Malignaggi amid much fanfare on May 15th. But there was a detour or two on the way, as Khan was detained in Canada for a few days prior to his visa coming through. Ironically, the visa was delayed because of the attempted Times Square bombing. Then, at the weigh-in the day before the fight, Khan and Malignaggi almost came to blows ahead of time, and the promoter threatened to cancel the bout. But the big day came, and Khan was simply unstoppable. He peppered the hometown boy with punches, before the fight was stopped in Khanâ€™s favor in the 11th round. Amir â€œKingâ€ Khan had now conquered a new continent. But, this is not some thug. This is a man who has done Umrah. He has committed his time and money to charitable causes, from Indian tsunami victims, to the youth of his hometown of Bolton. So soon after another incident in New York put another dent in Muslim-American public relations, a true ambassador of Islam arrived in the Big Apple and made us all proud. Long live the king!