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Last Updated: Saturday October 07 2006 09:56 GMT

Sportsround meets Amir Khan

Amir Khan

Since winning a silver medal at the Olympics in 2004 Amir Khan has become a professional boxer.

Sportsround met up with Amir to find out about winning that medal and what he's up to next.

What's it like coming to a place where there are young boxers, does it remind you of starting out?

I started out at somewhere like this academy, so I think it's brilliant. Having young kids here is going to keep them off the streets, and that's what boxing did for me. It kept me focused on my sport and helped me get this far.

A lot of people get into boxing for the discipline. I've heard you were a bit of a naughty boy at school, is that true?

Yeah, I was, I was. I was a bit hyperactive when I was young so I went to a boxing club to channel my energy. It got me disciplined and kept me out of trouble. After that it was cool.

A lot of people think you need ultra-discipline to be boxer. Do you think that aggression as a youngster helped you become such a good fighter?

You could say that, but it's more technique nowadays. I was full of energy so when I used to go to the gym I used to give 100%. It got me this far.

Is it the same now, do you think without the boxing you'd still have that aggression?

I'm not sure. As I'm getting older I'm getting lazier. You just grow up. But I think boxing is the right way and has given me a path to follow.

So you're meeting kids who will be trying to win a gold medal at the Olympics. What was that moment like for you?

My moment was brilliant. I won a silver medal which for a 17-year-old was unbelievable. I trained hard for it and I know that these kids can do the same for the next Olympics or the 2012 Olympics.

If I'd been able to fight in London I bet I'd have won the gold medal.

When you won the medal you turned professional straight afterwards. Was it a difficult decision to make?

It was quite hard because I was young. I was only 17 so I left it to my family. I gave it another year to get more experienced before I turned professional.

Now I have had nine fights as a professional and have won them all and it's gone so well for me.

Do you know when you want to fight for a world title?

Hopefully I want to win a world title next year. I've got my own goals and ambitions so I know what I'm working towards.

A lot of kids might see the nice clothes and the nice car and think it comes easy. What advice do you have for kids who may think it's easy?

It's not! Whatever sport you want to get into you have put in time and put in effort. When my mates go out for a night I stay in. I don't play football before a fight, I don't go out. I chill out at home, and that's hard.

You have be dedicated in food too, you have to watch what you eat. No chips and burgers, no chocolates, no crisps and that's hard. I'm only young and I've got my friends munching on chocolates so that's hard.

Then you have training too.

So what's a typical day like for you?

When I'm close to a fight I get up at 7am to go for a run. I come back and go the boxing gym for about 10am and do my training. Come back from there and if I feel okay in the evening I do some more like swimming or weight-training.

I try to change it so it doesn't get boring. It's a lot to do in a week, but if you want to be a champion you have to train hard and work for it.

Would you encourage kids to take up boxing? Do you think it could encourage aggression?

Yeah it does, but it gives you discipline as well. People think boxing is about hurting each other but it isn't. It's better to fight in the ring than on the street.

There are referees, you wear headguards, you wear gloves. If you are getting hurt the referee will stop the fight and you've got people in the corner with you helping out too.

Power isn't a huge advantage. You've got to pick your shots and win points and win.

So your advice is don't fight on the streets...

Exactly. There's no point fighting on the street, you're just going to get hurt and get in trouble with the police. I didn't do that. I never had a fight on the streets, I only fought in the gym. I let all my aggression out there.

So how do you relax?

Go watch Bolton Wanderers. Go on holidays, go on business trips. I go to the pictures and spend time with my friends, but when I have to train, train hard.

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