Top, from left: Blair MacDonald, Amir Khan, Faryal Makhdoom and Oliver Clark pose Saturday evening at the premiere of “Team Khan” at the Raindance Film Festival in London, England.
LONDON — A two-time British boxing world champion sent a message of encouragement to aspiring Thai boxers at the premiere of his documentary in England.
In an interview with Khaosod English, 31-year-old Amir Khan advised young Thai boxers to never give up training even if they receive criticism and do not win, adding that boxing could change their career in one match.
“There come times when you think you’re not going to get there or are not getting the support,” Khan said after the premiere of his documentary “Team Khan” at the 26th Raindance Film Festival held Saturday in London, comparing his early beginnings and the difficulty of being noticed to his eventual success on the world stage.
“Keep training hard because one day you will get that chance and you will shine, and you will get that one fight to put you through that next round,” the British-Pakistani light welterweight said.
Accompanied by his family and wife Faryal Makhdoom, Khan attended the documentary premiere – which follows his career from 2014 through 2016, during which he cemented his rise to stardom and at one point looked likely to fight boxing powerhouses Manny Pacquiao from the Philippines and the American Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The documentary also follows Khan’s personal life, regular trips to Pakistan and his balance between boxing, Islam and family.
With him during the long process were Australian directors and producers Oliver Clark and Blair MacDonald – Khan said he went from initially getting stressed by them appearing at his door every day to expecting them at training.
“Virgil would tell them off for turning up at practice,” Khan said laughing, referring to his American coach Virgil Hunter, who put him through rigorous training routines and often frowned at the directors’ presence.
“it’s been really tricky for us, you know […] because we also produced it ourselves, so I think kind of the learning curve of how to deliver a film, you know, all the legals involved,” 33-year-old Clark said Saturday when asked about the challenges faced during the four-year project. “I couldn’t name one more than another, but it’s been tricky from start to finish.”
Clark – who along with MacDonald never went to film school – added that the effort had however been rewarding and described the comforting feeling.
“I’m relieved, I’m just relieved it’s done, because many times it could have just ended up on the floor you know, in a pile somewhere,” he said, adding that a former editor quit after six months and that they had to start anew. “It was horrible – it was hard, really hard.”
Khan however said he was happy with the result and praised the pair’s commitment, before talking about boxing again – and entertaining the possibility of fighting in Thailand.
“I mean I’d love to, but you never know. This is boxing and it mainly stays in England and America,” Khan said. “There’s so much money and – the pay per view and – they got the whole platform sorted out but… it could happen, you never know!”
Khan has won 33 of his 37 professional boxing matches. He became Britain’s youngest silver medallist in the 2004 Summer Olympics and was twice light welterweight world champion.
Asked however if he’d ever consider switching disciplines to muay Thai, the Briton had a clearer answer.
“Never, never!” Khan said laughing. “I don’t want to get kicked in the head bro, I take enough punches to the head, I wouldn’t want to get kicked in the head!”
“Team Khan” will screen mid-November in cinemas in the United Kingdom, United States, Pakistan and the Middle East, as well as online streaming platforms. More information will be released at a later date. Updates can be followed online.