ISLAMABAD - Amir Khan, British boxer of Pakistani origin inaugurated Amir Khan Boxing Academy at Pakistan Sports Complex late Saturday night. British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew, DG PSB Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, Amir Khan’s father Sajjad Khan, uncle Tahir Khan and brother Haroon Khan along with others were also present on the occasion.

Amir sharing his grief on the sudden death of legendry boxer Muhammad Ali, Amir termed he was a hero for him. “I had started boxing at the age of 7, as great Muhammad Ali inspired me. He was present at my fight and gave me highly motivational tips.”

He said it was a historic day for him that he finally managed to fulfil his dream of establishing a world-class boxing academy at Islamabad. He said Lahore and Karachi would also get academies before the project to be expanded to other major cities.  Amir said it was always his firm belief that Pakistan is blessed with immense amount of natural talent and he wanted to help the youth of Pakistan in best possible manner.

Amir promised to produce a number of world class boxers in just one year time.

“I would invite top professionals trainers from around the world and would gradually expand the academy. It would not only focus on males, but we would also work on producing female boxers as well without any gender discrimination. I know females had already started to create waves in boxing in Pakistan and won laurels for Pakistan in the 12th South Asian Games.” When asked about equipment and procedure of admission in the academy, what would be charges and criteria of admission Amir replied: “I am not starting commercial academy. I don’t believe in minting money. It would be purely non-commercial based academy and run by the help of sponsors and with my own pocket. The PSB would provide accommodation, meal and education for trainee boxers.”

About him representing Pakistan in the Rio Olympics, Amir denied betraying his British upbringing after being criticised for saying he would represent Pakistan at the Rio Games, insisting he only wanted to boost the sport in his parents' country of birth.

Amir said he was a "proud British fighter" who had represented his country at the Athens Olympics and would therefore not want to deprive fellow Britons of a ticket to Rio De Janeiro.

"I'm not doing it because I'm not happy being British. I'm a proud British fighter, but it's the way people took it out of context and calling me a traitor -- I meant it in a way that I'd rather give someone else an opportunity instead because Pakistan has no boxers," he said.

"But, you know, at the moment we are just waiting and seeing. I don't think I'll be allowed to do that anyway because obviously, the WBC, they won't allow it."

When asked about whether he thinks the void left by legendry boxer Muhamamd Ali’s death could be filled and whom he considered as the greatest of all time boxers, Amir replied: “ Ali was the best and no one can even come closer to him. He was the greatest ever and would remain so. He was one and only and I am sure, nobody could even think about scaling those heights, which great Muhammad Ali had scaled down. He was a superb human being. His skills, timing and reading of the opponent was exceptional. He was truly a remarkable gentleman and I would always miss him as he was so close to my heart. Today, believe me I already have started to miss him.”

When asked about when the equipment would arrive at the academy and when the academy would finally fully functional, Amir said an MOU had been signed in this regard and his sponsors Green Hill would provide equipment and he would also arrange latest equipment from abroad as well and forms would be available at Islamabad and after going through formalities. “I am quite sure, after Ramazan, the academy would start to train youth at larger scale. In the meantime, I would personally visit different parts of Pakistan and assess the boxing talent. It would definitely take some time, but nothing is impossible.