By Stephen Reid from Doha, Qatar, Oct 10, 2015: Just over 24 hours after the departure of one world champion boxer Qatar has welcomed another to the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena in Doha as Britain’s Amir Khan descended upon the Doha 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships for a highly anticipated first day of Quarter-Final action.
Khan, a two-time former world champion and current holder of the WBC Silver welterweight was given an all-star welcome to the impressive arena by President of the Qatar Boxing Federation and Executive Director Local Organizing Committee (LOG), Yousuf Ali Al Kazim. Having enjoyed a VIP tour of the state-of-the-art facility Khan then met with a host of media and fans who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the boxing hero on his first ever visit to Qatar.
After gaining firsthand experience of the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, Khan said: “I have been to many boxing arenas around the world and this has to be one of the best. I like the fact that every seat in the arena is positioned for a great view of the ring which will create a great atmosphere. The hospitality has been amazing everywhere I have been and everyone has been very welcoming. I feel very at home here.”
President of the Qatar Boxing Federation and Executive Director Local Organizing Committee (LOG), Yousuf Ali Al Kazim commented: “Qatar is making sporting history through these championships. With a state-of-the-art venue, impeccable organization and passionate fans attending from the community and around the world we have created the perfect platform to set a new benchmark for World Boxing Championships. The sport has gripped the local community Doha has caught the attention of the boxing world with legends such as Amir Khan coming to witness just how special Qatar is as a home of boxing and world-class sport.”
Khan, a former Olympic silver medalist will take in world boxing’s signature event this week and is expected to pay special attention as well as offer some valuable tips to help his fellow countrymen representing Great Britain. After competing as a seventeen year old in Athens in 2004, Khan is the youngest British Olympic boxing medalist. As a result the star knows just how important the World Championships are to the career of aspiring young boxers especially with 23 Olympic boxing places in Rio to be won this week.
Khan said: “The Olympic Games changed my life and boxing here ahead of the Olympics in Rio will be no better preparation for those who qualify. There is some very good fighters here and everyone needs to give every opponent the upmost respect. Every boxer’s dream is to become a world champion and AIBA with this event are able to get boxers prepared for the highest level.”
Manny Pacquaio left Doha, saying he would love to fight here in Qatar for his next fight whether that would be against Amir Khan or Floyd Mayweather. He praised the facilities here in Qatar and was impressed at how much the country is investing in Sport. Khan, also blown away with the set up and the atmosphere here at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah arena, stated he would love to compete out here in Qatar and considers it a potential destination for a big event.
Khan added: “A fight over here would be amazing, there has been a lot of talk about me and Manny (Pacquiao), we are friends but sometimes friends have to fight and this would be an amazing location for it. Pacquiao is a fight I would love to have, I have left it with my agents to look at contracts etc but it is definitely something I would want to happen”.
In total Amir Khan will be spending nearly three weeks here in Qatar and will conduct an intense training camp at some of Doha’s world-class facilities. He also intends to relax by spending time to experience the unique local cultural and tourist hotspots. It is well known that the British World Champion loves to give back to the community so Khan will meet and greet some of the people of Qatar as well as visiting the Championship’s interactive fanzone in coming days.
Speaking on the arrival of his new guest, Al Kazim said: “Amir wants to enjoy the boxing but also train hard in Doha. Hopefully he’ll enjoy his time in our nation and who knows, he might be back to compete himself soon. Qatar has made a big statement and Doha has definitely announced itself on the world stage of boxing this week as a potential venue for the biggest names in the sport to train and compete.”
In concluding Khan closed by saying:” Doha is an amazing place, a very peaceful place that I would love to bring my family too, it is very down to earth and has some amazing facilities.”
For sports fans from all nations across Qatar the action and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all to witness the best boxers on the planet go head to head right here in Doha until Thursday 15th October. The quarter-finals scheduled from Saturday 10th October. For the latest timings and official draw and ticket information please visit: http://www.boxing2015.qa