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Last Updated: Monday, 30 August, 2004, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Khan stays amateur
By Andy Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens


Amir Khan
Amir Khan pledged to stay amateur until the Beijing Games after winning Olympic silver in the lightweight final.

The 17-year-old Briton lost to Cuban champion Mario Kendelan, but said: "I want to stay amateur until I'm 22.

"I'll be stronger and more mature for the next Olympics and hopefully I'll win gold and then have something behind me when I go professional."

Despite experts urging Khan to stay out of the pros, there had been concerns that big-money offers would tempt him.

But Khan's coach Terry Edwards praised the Bolton boxers decision.

You can't fast track an amateur to gain experience
Terry Edwards
Amir Khan's coach

"It is important for him to stay amateur for the next Olympics for the experience.

"He's only had 14 senior bouts and went up against a remarkable legend.

"Kindelan is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and he's been around for a number of years at the very top.

"There was 20 points in it when they fought last time and only eight this time and the last round was even.

"In my heart I felt Amir had won the last round clearly.

"He needs more experience and more maturity.

"You can't fast track an amateur to gain experience. In four years time he'll have it."

Sat at ringside for Khan's final, former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield said the Briton would be well served staying amateur for four more years.

"He is a very mature 17, but 21 is a great age. I truly believe if you don't rush people in, their chances are better," he said.

And Richie Woodhall, who won a bronze medal at the Seoul Games, lent his support to Khan's decision.

"I think he should definitely stay amateur because he'll regret it for the rest of his life if he never wins the Olympic title - he is definitely gold medal material," he said.

"I'd be a hypocrite to say: 'Don't turn pro.' I think he should turn pro but do it at the right time."





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