Why 2021 should be the year Amir Khan receives a knighthood by Her Majesty

Despite being Britain's youngest Olympic-medalist, a two-time world champion and philanthropist, Khan has never been recognised by the Queen.

The debate as to whether or not athletes should receive knighthoods continues but one thing is for sure, it will continue to happen.

Lewis Hamilton, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Andy Murray and Kelly Holmes are just a string of names to have been honoured by Her Majesty.

When it comes to knighthoods in boxing, Henry Cooper remains the only person to have been given one while the likes of Carl Froch and Anthony Joshua have received MBEs for their achievements.

Amir Khan, Team GB's youngest ever Olympian to win a medal at the age of 17 at the 2004 Games in Athens, has previously shared his frustrations at being overlooked by the Royal Family.

"I think it would mean the world to me and my family. I feel like I deserve it," Khan said in 2019.

"I was the youngest British Olympian in boxing. In a way I might have saved amateur boxing in the UK.

"We had to get a medal to keep the funding for the next two cycles and it was me who got that medal as a teenager," Khan continued.

"If I didn't win that, the funding for the next eight years would not have been there.

"I then went on and won world titles. I became a big name in America, I flew the British flag in America. "My family is from Pakistan but I'm proud to be British.

"I think they have forgotten about me. When I meet people, most of them think I've already been honoured.

"I've been to dinners and shows when my name is down and it has MBE or OBE beside my name and I have to tell him I'm not.

"It doesn't hurt me but I wonder why I haven't got one."

Inspiring the next generation of British Asian fighters

Closing in on 40 professional fights - stretching back to 2005 - the British legend has admitted 2021 is likely to be his final year as an active fighter.

At 34, Khan is the WBC Middle East president and will continue to contribute to the sport outside of the ropes as a manager and promoter to inspire the next generation of stars.

Alongside his duties for the WBC, Khan is also hoping to make Liverpool's Tal Singh the first Sikh boxer to become world champion.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meets boxer Amir Khan during a visit to MyLahore restaurant in Bradford to hear about some of the charitable work that the restaurant does to support the community
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meets boxer Amir Khan during a visit to MyLahore restaurant in Bradford to hear about some of the charitable work that the restaurant does to support the community

Many people will remember his stint on ITV's I'm a Celebrity Get me Out of Here and his most recent documentary series on BBC 3 titled 'Meet the Khans: Big in Bolton', where he casually admits £5million has gone missing from his wedding hall project in Bolton.

Driving flash cars and buying £100k watches could create a narrative of Khan, especially to trolls on social media.

However, there is another side to Khan. An ambitious, strong-minded, thoughtful Khan.

After being snapped up by Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, Khan made his professional debut in 2005.

Islamophobia was rifer than ever during the build-up to his first bout because of the 7/7 attacks happening in London just days before which meant one thing - Khan was a direct victim of racist abuse due to three of the four suicide bombers being British-born sons of Pakistani immigrants.

However, the teenage Khan took it in his stride and called for Britain to unite together against terrorism and delivered a stunning victory inside 109 seconds at the Bolton Arena to begin his career in sensational style.

"It did upset me because I wanted to enjoy this moment but I could not because of what happened in London," Khan said.

"I wanted to send the young Muslim kids a message out there. We live in England, we were brought up in England and we have to respect our roots."

His win over David Bailey in July 2005 saw an audience of 4.4 million viewers - ITV's biggest Saturday night audience of the month.

Things went from strength-to-strength and Khan became a pay-per-view star and world champion in 2008 with a dominant performance over Andriy Kotelnik.

From world champion to philanthropist

After outclassing former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi, Khan visited Pakistan as an Oxfam ambassador to help families left homeless from the unprecedented floods in Charsadda.

Not only did he raise over £1million, he also dedicated his next fight to the victims and promised to contribute further money from his purse earnings.

He fought Marcos Maidana in the United States and emerged victorious, successfully defending his WBA light welterweight title in a battle which was named as the Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

By 24, Khan had unified the 140-pound division and had become an overnight superstar. In 2014, Khan decided to set up the Amir Khan Foundation - a charity which supports people in need around the world.

One year later, Khan and his team, alongside anti-poverty charity Penny Appeal, delivered essentials such as clothing, tents and other items for 10,000 Syrian refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos.

The foundation has also worked on other projects including building homes in Gambia and setting up the Golden Gloves Community Centre in his home town of Bolton, England.

The Golden Gloves Community Centre is an initiative to keep kids off the streets and transfer their aggression in boxing rather than falling on the other side of the law.

Khan has since challenged for world honours at middleweight - despite it being at a catchweight of 155-pounds - as well as welterweight against Terence Crawford. The Brit, alongside Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in 2016 - were the first two fighters to headline at the 20,000 seat T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Khan has since contributed to those in need during the Coronavirus pandemic. His team have supplied clothing, PPE equipment and food and water to more than 12,000 families in Pakistan and 20,000 households in England. He even offered his wedding hall in Bolton to the NHS during the first wave of the virus.

There is no doubt of an agenda against Khan and it is bizarre.

It is all well and good being a champion inside the ring but it is also what you do outside of it and maybe some of the current titleholders should look up to Bolton's finest as an inspiration.

Khan should be celebrated as a national treasure and his work should be recognised by Her Majesty sooner rather than later.

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