Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rival Grant Hits out at Khan over Shock Exit

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rival Grant Hits out at Khan over Shock Exit

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

AMIR KHAN was heading for a beating had the Olympic silver medallist not made a shock withdrawal from the Senior ABA Championships.

That was the claim made today by Michael Grant, the London lightwelterweight who was set to meet Khan in either the semi-finals or the final of British amateur boxing's most prestigious tournament.

Grant, a 21-year-old boxing for the Haringey Police Community Club, said: "I've been training hard and I know I could have beaten Khan. I've got the speed to do it, the determination and the stamina."

Khan's camp insist their 18-year-old pulled out of Saturday's ABA quarter final against Johnny Martin of Canvey because they were not offered sufficient tickets for the 800-capacity Gorleston Ocean Rooms near Great Yarmouth.

But Grant, a former England international who is already through to next Friday's ABA semi-finals in Preston, believes Khan's people might have been concerned that defeat against him would have harmed the market value of their man when he eventually turned professional.

The amount of money at stake was recently revealed by Frank Warren, Britain's leading professional promoter, who insisted that if Khan became a paid boxer now he could be a world champion and a multimillionaire by 2008 when Beijing hosts the next Olympics.

Assuming Khan beat Martin he would have been entered into a draw for the ABA semi-finals at Preston's Guild Hall. He would have met Grant at that stage or possibly in the climax of the competition to be held at the ExCel Centre in London's Docklands on Friday 18 March.

Grant said: "Without sounding boastful I think he knew I would have given him a good fight and that I'd probably have beaten him.

"We've never fought before but we have sparred. He caught me a couple of times but I gave it back to him. I've got a lot of respect for Khan, he's a class boxer, but I would have won had we fought in the ABA championships. …

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