Thursday, July 09, 2009

DeGale, Saunders and Gavin back Khan

Frank Warren's three Olympians are backing Amir Khan to begin a new era in British boxing on July 18. And James DeGale, Billy Joe Saunders and Frankie Gavin are planning to be hot on Khan's heels if he manages to capture Andreas Kotelnik's WBA light-welterweight world title at the MEN Arena. While Khan occupies top billing in the north west, he will be joined on the card by DeGale, Saunders and Gavin, all of whom are having their third professional fight. With Joe Calzaghe retired and Ricky Hatton coming to the end of his career, Khan has a fantastic chance to become the new poster boy for the sport in the UK - with the Olympic trio riding shotgun."Amir was an inspiration to me when he won silver at the 2004 Olympics, and what he achieved spurred me to do well in Beijing," said Olympic champion DeGale. "If he wins a world title then he will show all of us who went to the 2008 Games that you can make it to the top. "I've been following his career closely since he turned professional, and his dedication and committment are an example to all of us. "People are saying that boxing is in transition at the moment, but I think it's an exciting time for the sport. "There's a vaccuum to be filled, and my generation is the one to do it. There's quite a few of us in our early 20s, and the talent out there is fantastic. "Amir has got all the tools needed to beat Kotelnik, and it will brilliant for the sport in this country if he does it." Gavin, the 2007 amateur world champion who worked extensively with Khan when he fought for England and GB, added: "We are still good mates and I know that Amir can beat Kotelnik. "To be fighting on the same card as him is a real honour, and I'm backing him to lead the way on July 18 and get that world title. "Amir's great for the sport, and only good things can happen if he wins that world title. I'm sure other boxers will thrive on his success, just like we did when we were amateurs." Saunders, just 19, said: "Kotelnik is technically good and can take a punch, but I think Amir will be too fast for him. It's a hard fight for him but I know he can do the business."

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