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Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009
Amir Khan: knocked out by racism?

Amir Khan
Amir Khan celebrates his victory on Saturday

He's a world champion boxer who is billed as 'King Khan' on pay-per-view TV and runs his own gym in his home town of Bolton.

Yet according to Amir Khan, he doesn't get the recognition he deserves because the colour of his skin.

Before his successful defence of his WBA light-welterweight title on Saturday, Amir said that if he "were a white English fighter, maybe I'd have been a superstar in Britain."

Amir's promoter, Frank Warren, backed up his point, saying that the sports media are far too interested in Khan's race.

He said that "people don't ask David Haye what it's like to be black. They don't ask Catholic fighters about the problems in Northern Ireland. When James Degale [Olympic boxing champion] got booed, they didn't put it down to racism."

Not everyone agrees with the pair. Even Amir's father, Shah, says he doesn't "know why he made those comments," as he believes "he is known all round not just in England but round the world."

Ricky Hatton
Ricky Hatton became a household name through boxing

Khan is the only British Asian world champion boxer and has suffered abuse and boos at both fights and personal appearances from a small minority of the audience, but there's no evidence that such actions were racially motivated.

"It's probably jealousy but I can only say skin colour does make a difference," he said.

"I went to the Olympic Games and won a medal for Britain and then won a world title for Britain, but sometimes you don't see the appreciation."

Khan v Hatton

He may well be comparing himself to his close friend and possible future opponent down the road in Hyde, the inimitable Ricky Hatton.

Ricky was a similar age to Amir when he landed his first world title and went on to become a household name.

In 2007, Ricky Hatton fought three bouts, winning four world titles in the first two and garnering himself a BBC Sports Personality of the Year nomination ahead of his final fight.

He was hotly tipped to take the title, but his loss against Floyd Mayweather Jr led to him coming third in the poll.

Amir Khan and David Haye
Amir Khan has won more title fights than David Haye in 2009

This year, Amir Khan has fought three bouts, winning an Inter-Continental and a World title in the first two, and retaining his world crown in the final one.

Yet only three sports writers included him in their nominations for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and none of them came from the national press.

Interestingly, David Haye only fought once this year, taking the world title in November, but was still nominated by all but two of the 26 publications, and made it into the final ten.

Your thoughts

So is the colour of Amir's skin really making a difference to how he is treated by the sports media and, as a result, the public or is he just being impatient for success?

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SEE ALSO
Khan father rejects bigotry claim
05 Dec 09 |  Boxing
Ruthless Khan demolishes Salita
05 Dec 09 |  Boxing


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