ISLAMABAD - Former unified WBA (super) and IBF light-welterweight champion Amir Iqbal Khan promised to give Pakistan an Olympic boxer in next four years time.

Talking to the journalists on Friday after imparting training to around 50 local boxers at his Amir Khan Boxing Academy (AKBA), Pakistan Sports Complex, Amir said: “I always believe Pakistan is blessed with natural boxing talent. I picked up 50 boxers from Rawalpindi and Islamabad for training in the first phase, but due to my brother Haroon Khan’s wedding, I have to rush back to England. I will come back soon and within a month or so, the Islamabad academy will be fully functional.”

He said he had installed international standard gym in the academy, which was completely free for boxers for one year. “I first pick boxers and then divide them into different categories. I am not here to mint money, but to give something back to the country, where my family, father and others belong to. I could have earn millions, if I wanted to establish academies at any given place in the world, but I picked up Pakistan, as I know I would find fresh grassroots level boxers here. In the first phase, the Islamabad academy would be fully functional, while it would be expanded to other parts of the country gradually.”

When asked whether had found some talent in his first training session, Amir said: “Yes, I was not expecting such an overwhelming response from the youngsters. I am glad international coaches have accepted my request and will train Pakistani boxers in Pakistan, which will indeed a great help to them and will be great opportunity to excel.”

To a query regarding poor situation of the academy where there was no air conditioner to make the hot and humid atmosphere cool, Amir replied: “This is perfect environment for the boxers, as in USA, where I myself train, there was no air-conditioned culture and all the top professional boxers used to train under tough conditions. The boxers must be physically and mentally strong and must not care about luxuries, rather focus on performance. But I will try to install a few air conditioners for the masses.”

He requested the media to lend a helping hand and promote this noble cause, as it was national duty of each and every individual to help him produce a number of international level boxers, who may earn laurel for Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the journalists had to face a lot of difficulties to cover the event in highly hot and humid conditions. When the journalists wanted to draw Amir’s father Sajjad Khan’s attention towards their woes, he said: “Who invited the journalists? We didn’t need journalists, pack your stuff, we didn’t need coverage.”

When he was told that the PSB and their sponsor Green Hill’s Anwaar invited the journalists, it made Sajjad Khan furious. When Amir was informed about the incident, he said: “I need journalists’ support and this will not happen again.”

Amir must understand whenever he invited the journalists on a very short notice, they turned up in numbers even in odd timings and gave him best coverage.

The PSB should also look into the matter as on what grounds they invite journalists when a British national doesn’t need coverage. It would have been far better if the PSB or government had allocated land for former legends, who had spent their entire lives serving boxing, while the academies should have been established at Lyari or Quetta, which might serve better to local youth and arena would have been pack to capacity.–Mohsin Ali