Amir Khan, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist-turned-unified light welterweight champion of the world, has announced the end of his ring career.
Khan retires with a professional record of 34 wins from 40 bouts, his legacy as one of the most entertaining and premier British boxers of his time long ago secured.
The 35-year-old wrote in a brief statement on Twitter on Friday morning: “It’s time to hang up my gloves. I feel blessed to have such an amazing career spanning 27 years.
“I want to say a heartfelt thank you to the incredible teams I’ve worked with, as well as my family, friends and fans for the love and support they’ve shown me.”
Khan ends a storied career that also included contentions for world welterweight and middleweight titles in defeat after being stopped in the sixth round of a one-sided grudge bout by longtime rival Kell Brook in Manchester in February. Brook announced his own retirement last weekend.
There was controversy along the way – Khan was convicted of multiple traffic offenses – but he’s one of the chosen few from these islands to really “crack” the United States, and the son of Pakistan-born parents wasn’t shy about speaking out on difficult subjects like that as racism and inspired countless other British Asians.
Khan first caught the nation’s attention as a just 17-year-old at the 2004 Olympics when he lost to Mario Kindelan in the lightweight final in Athens, but the silver the Bolton teenager earned made him the UK’s youngest-ever boxing medalist at the Games.
He got revenge on the Cuban in his last amateur fight, watched by millions on ITV, and then moved into the paid ranks in 2005, where he dazzled audiences with his lightning-fast reflexes and sharp hand speed.
He did show vulnerability, however, and a suspect chin was intriguingly exposed in his 19th pro fight when he was KO’d by Breidis Prescott in 54 seconds in September 2008, prompting Khan to move to the United States and settle with the respected Team Coach Freddie Roach.
Three fights and 10 months later, Khan realized his childhood dream of becoming world champion at the age of 22 after challenging WBA titlist Andreas Kotelnik in Manchester, just a few miles from his birthplace.
Khan set his sights on America thereafter, and a December 2010 win over Marcos Maidana in an epic suspense endeared him to fans on both sides of the Atlantic before becoming the unified champion at 140lbs the following year by beating IBF champion Zab Dethroned Judah with a vicious body shot to earn a fifth-round KO victory.
He surrendered his belts after a controversial points loss to Lamont Peterson, whose test positive for a banned substance ahead of the rematch meant Khan was reinstated as a WBA titlelist.
It was a short tenure as he was brutally stopped by Danny Garcia in July 2012, being knocked down three times in four rounds, a defeat that was the last time he came into the ring with a major world title.
He renounced Roach and rebuilt under Virgil Hunter, who was believed to be able to improve any defensive deficiencies, and Khan won his next five fights against former title-listing or fringe welterweight contenders, despite not bringing Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao to one Showdown was able to persuade.
Instead, Khan jumped up two divisions to face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the WBC middleweight title in May 2016, but the Mexican clinically ended things with a devastating sixth-round knockout in one fell swoop.
However, his reputation was spotless as Khan was credited with rolling the dice, although it was suspected that by this point his enthusiasm for the sport was waning. However, his appeal was cemented with an appearance on the reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in 2017.
Khan was also stopped within six rounds by WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in 2019 before surprisingly teaming up and training with the American in Colorado for his highly anticipated fight against Brook earlier this year.
There would be no picture-perfect ending as Khan’s face was battered and bruised before being held to his feet in a fight that British fans had been waiting for a number of years.
Khan said the retirement was “something to definitely think about” immediately after his sixth loss of his career, adding: “I never want boxing to make me retire, I want to retire from boxing. ”