Amir Khan Successfully Launches Pro Boxing In Pakistan – Inaugural Event Featuring British & Irish Boxers Raises $75,000 For Charity.
It may have only been 4:30 in the morning, but the heat was stifling as the Emirates A340-300, that carried the contingent of international boxers and officials from the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) that were to take part in a charity pro boxing event promoted by two Division World Champion Amir Khan just two days later, made it’s final approach into Karachi Quaid-E-Azam International Airport in Pakistan.
Whilst some went straight to their beds for some much deserved sleep, BIBA CEO and Executive Vice President Gianluca Di Caro and World Boxing Union (WBU) Super Flyweight World Champion Tasif Khan received their media itinerary for the coming days, which started just 90 minutes later, where they were to join Amir Khan as studio guests of the highly popular radio City FM89 Morning Show host Khalid Malik, for those in the UK think Chris Evans level of popularity and double it.
After Amir had made his presentation about the event, the Amir Khan Trust and it’s aims, he opened up the floor for questions, whilst most were about the event one of the journalists put him on the spot by asking, “as it was announced today that professional boxers can now box at the Olympics would he be representing Pakistan in Rio” Amir diplomatically answered that it would be an honour, but he has contractual obligations with his promoter to consider, before adding, that whilst he would love to represent Pakistan in Rio, that he really believes that the opportunity should be there for a young fighter, as it was such an honour when he had been presented the opportunity to compete in the Olympics for Great Britain, when he was just seventeen and that was the springboard for his professional career, as it would be for any Pakistani boxer that competed at Rio 2016.
Originally there were to be four professional bouts, however that was not to be as prior to leaving the UK Haroon picked up an injury. To make matters worse just days before the fight Tasif’s opponent Francis Croes tore a ligament in his arm, forcing him to pull out.
Some quick calls from Tahir see a female amateur bout, featuring two seventeen year old friends from Lyari, Saira and Ambreen being added to the bill and opening the show
Before the pro fights though the important matter of raising funds for Amir Khan Trust, firstly from donations and then through an auction of Amir’s personal belongings, such as signed shorts, gloves, paintings, posters etc
Both were a massive success, with the Amir Khan Trust receiving donations that amounted to the equivalent of twenty much needed water wells and the auction itself incredibly raising close to 8 Million PKR. ($75,000)
The historic first pro boxing bout to take place in Pakistan featured Liverpool’s unbeaten Dayle Gallagher against Belfast’s Phil Townley in a four round Middleweight contest.
Officiating the contest was no referee Richie Davies.
Right from the off the two protagonists went to war, the experienced Irishman going straight on the attack, the Liverpool youngster kept his cool and got behind his jab to keep the ever advancing Phil Townley at bay.
Dayle, initially taking a controlled countering approach, then proceeded to showcase his exceptional skills against his much more experienced opponent, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all one way traffic but the Liverpool youngster put on a sublime controlled performance that belied his tender years.
After four superb exciting rounds of boxing Referee Richie Davies declared the bout 40-37 in favour of Dayle Gallagher.
The second pro bout of the night, see Scunthorpe’s Jody Meikle in action against Preston’s Stuart Maddox in a four round Cruiserweight contest.
What an intense closely fought contest, both protagonists went at it with gusto, much of the time it could have been fought in a phone booth as they stood toe to toe slugging it out.
After four rounds of pugilistic action Referee Richie Davies scored the bout 39-36 in favour of Stuart Maddox, which whilst without doubt correct doesn’t project just how close a fight this was.
Finally singers Bilal Saeed and Adeel Chaudhry performed sensational live sets as the guest enjoyed their sumptuous dinners.
Speaking after the event, Amir Khan said:
“First of all I want to say thank you to all the lads that took part, they are all winners in my eyes, flying out here to Pakistan and fighting here, even Tasif, who didn’t get to fight, as his opponent Francis Croes was injured the day before he was due to fly over, however Tasif still came here and has been part of all the build up to this big fight, because he could have stayed in the hotel and not done anything, he’s got family here in Pakistan but he said no, he wanted to stay with the team.
“This is what Boxing brings, we’re like one big family, you know we all stay together.
“I’m so glad I’ve done this in Pakistan, because it’s opened a new door for me to do more boxing events. I’m definitely going to do it again with BIBA, I’d love to come back to Pakistan and give Pakistan the fights they want.
“Tonight’s event raised a good amount of money for a place called Thar, the reason I am doing it here is because Thar is rated one of the poorest regions in the World. The Government don’t help the place and nobody talks about this place.
“Kids are dying, thousands of kids are dying every month you know there’s no clean water, it’s like a desert, we are going to provide water wells, it doesn’t cost that much but will save so many lives and that will make me so happy, so I am doing this for them. I’ve enjoyed doing the boxing event, so we can build these wells, the reason we and the boxers flew over from England is for the people of Thar.
“It shows a lot of balls these fighters and officials to come over here, because the media implies that Pakistan is not a safe place to visit, but these boys have shown balls by coming and fighting here to help me to raise money for the people of Thar.
“Not just that but it’s all about doing these promotional events and putting on these fights in order to introduce a new sport, professional boxing, to Pakistan. This will motivate all the kids to go to the gymnasiums and our academies, so it works in many ways.”