Amir Khan is wary of boxing behind closed doors and says he will not rush back into the ring if the sport returns in July, with the Coronavirus pandemic still rife across the world.
The British Boxing Board of Control is currently in discussions with promoters regarding stout safety measures that would need to be in place for boxing’s comeback. Crucially, these involve no spectators.
“Even though there is big money, I wouldn’t be able to do it as I need the fan base there,” the former WBA Super and IBF 140lbs champion told BBC Sport. “I’ve got three kids. I do so much in the sport already and I feel I’d rather be 100% sure before I jump back in.
“I don’t want to get sick. I’ve had a great career. Do I really need to risk it and see what’s going to happen? I’d rather hold back a little bit and see what the situation is like.”
With his successful career winding down, Khan last fought in July stopping Billy Dib in four rounds in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but he has been training at home while Covid-19 has placed normality on pause.
“I just feel that for a boxer to walk into an arena and walk into a fight having no fans in an empty stadium it’s going to be like walking into a sparring session so I can’t really see that working,” said Khan.
“It’s hard to lift yourself really and get yourself ready for a fight. I can’t see the big names doing that unless there’s ridiculous money from the TV company on the table. You need the audience there to lift your spirits.”
For boxing to return under BBBofC rules, participants must adhere to a number of strict measures including fighters testing and self-isolating at a designated hotel, wearing protective face masks outside and during ring walks, with officials also suitably covered during fights.
Khan has expressed his doubts about boxers returning in such an uncertain and potentially dangerous climate.
“What if someone gets badly injured or catches something from his opponent? I just think it’s going to be quite tough,” said the 33-year-old.
“At times, when you hit someone with a shot, the spit will come onto you, the sweat will fall on you. When you hit someone, there is going to be blood flying off you and coming onto you. I’ve had fights where after the fight I’ve had blood on my arm and I’ve wondered where it’s come from, but it’s been from my opponent.
“I just feel like it’s going to be very dangerous.”