World Champion Boxer and the racism he faces

Despite being a world champion who earned several titles for his country, British Muslim boxer Amir Khan is still haunted by racism because of his skin color.“I can only say that sometimes skin colour does make a difference,” the 22-year-old WBA light-welterweight champion told the Guardian on Saturday, December 5. “I know for a fact if I were a white English fighter maybe I would have been a superstar in Britain, and the world.” The Bolton-born boxer said he was the target of racists since his first professional defeat to Breidis Prescott, of Colombia, in September last year. “Straight after the Prescott fight, when people said, ‘He’s finished’, there were racial remarks made,” Khan said. “If you go on the message boards and chat forums there are always people who have to get the religious thing in. But the racist slurs never discouraged the Muslim boxer. “It made me stronger, it made me come back stronger and made be a better fighter.” Khan, of Pakistani origins, became the WBA World light-welterweight champion on 18 July 2009, becoming Britain’s third-youngest world champion after Naseem Hamed and Herbie Hide. He was also the former Commonwealth lightweight champion, WBO Inter-Continental lightweight champion, and WBA International lightweight champion. He makes the first defence of his WBA light-welterweight title against Ukrainian Dmitri Salita in Newcastle later Saturday.Proud BritonThough he felt hurt by the racist slurs, the Muslim boxer is proud to represent Britain on international boxing stage. “I’m proud to be British and it’s a very small minority [that mention race], but it does hurt you and it pushes you all the way,” Khan said. “I went to the Olympic Games for Britain and won a medal for Britain and then won a world title for Britain but sometimes you don’t see the appreciation.”Britain’s ethnic minorities are racked by the pain of racism with an estimated 87,000 members of ethnic minorities being a victim of racially motivated crimes. Figures also show that ethnic minorities have the worst unemployment and housing crises in the country. Some 70 percent of all ethnic minorities live in the 88 most deprived areas, compared to 40 percent of the general population. Khan said that he is trying to bridge the gap between Asian communities and Britons. “I’m doing it just to fix things between the Asian communities and English communities,” he said. “There will always be racial things there and not getting on with each other, and I’m trying to break that barrier. I believe in peace.”© The Guardian

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