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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 August, 2004, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Khan's route to glory
Amir Khan
Britain's Amir Khan had to settle for silver after being outpointed by Cuban Mario Kindelan in the Olympic lightweight boxing final.

The 17-year-old had enjoyed a remarkable run of success, and we look at his route to the final in Athens.


By June, Khan had already been crowned European and world junior champion after a series of telling victories in Lithuania and later Korea.

And such was his run in the worlds, he was named best boxer of the tournament after picking up his lightweight gold.

His one blip in the build-up to the Games saw him lose to pre-Olympic favourite Mario Kindelan, the fighter he must beat to win gold on Sunday.

What they said - Coach Terry Edwards: "He's got a tremendous talent, a good eye and a tremendous attitude."


Khan got his Olympic ambitions off to an impressive start against the Greek competitor.

The nerves showed for the two minutes of the first round, which saw both boxers level on 6-6.

But by round two there was only ever going to be one winner and Khan took just three rounds to ease past his opponent, cruising to a 32-12 scoreline before the referee stepped in to stop the bout.

What they said - Former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall: "He's the best young prospect we've had for years. At 17, a world junior champion able to produce a performance like that at the Olympics, he's as good if not better than (former WBO featherweight champion) Prince Naseem Hamed was at the same age."


While his round-one victory showed Khan's potential, beating Stilianov showed he was a true force to be reckoned with.

The Bulgarian arrived at the Games as the newly crowned European champion with an impressive pedigree to date in amateur boxing.

Like Khan's previous round there was a slighly stuttery start against his southpaw opponent, but he used his dazzling footwork and accuracy for a 37-21 victory.

What they said - Woodhall: "Stilianov is an excellent fighter and no one pushes him around like that."


Before most British households had had a chance to settle into their seats for this bout, it was all over.

Unlike his earlier two rounds, he came absolutely flying out of the blocks. He brought opponent Baik Jong-sub crashing to the canvas within moments.

And the referee had to step in with 23 seconds left on the clock in the first round when a barrage of blows from Khan left his opponent dazed.

What they said - Baik Jong-sub's coach: "This boy is unbeatable. Khan will be considered the memory of the Games."


After booking his place in the final, Khan admitted he had been nervous coming out against his rival from Kazakhstan and it showed from the outset.

He struggled to find his rhythm and range and was 7-5 down after the first round and dropped to a worryingly distant 14-9 during the second.

But while his opponent in the ring tired, Khan seemingly came to life towards the end of the second, and in the third and fourth rounds he showed maturity well beyond his years and unnervingly quick hands to set up a gold medal bout against Mario Kindelan.

What they said - Former WBO featherweight champion Naseem Hamed: "He has been a breath of fresh air. I admire him and think he is fantastic. I am tipping him for gold. The kid is a great fighter. He has got the speed and co-ordination. He is an all-round fighter."


The odds were heavily stacked against him as he entered the ring against his much-fancied Cuban opponent but he started well, edging the opening round 4-3.

But Kindelan's experience showed in rounds two and three and he pulled out a lead he never looked likely to give up despite a vibrant performance from Khan in the final stages.

In the end the 30-22 scoreline was a fair reflection on what had gone on in the ring.

What they said - Former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield: "It was a great performance - he's got huge potential. How do you expect a 17-year-old to fight that great. He was up against the best."

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