Why I want to help young people – by Amir Khan
When I was growing up, it would have been easy for me to go off the rails.
I was a hyperactive young boy and I could have ended up in trouble, with no job or even in prison.
My father took me to a boxing club and the sport taught me to walk away from fights and only throw punches in the ring.
I faced challenges as a young man and I’ve been fortunate that boxing has given me opportunities and a support network that has helped me throughout my life.
Every day you read about kids getting mixed up in crime and more than 100 young people have been murdered in London alone this year.
I see a lot of kids on the streets with nothing to do. I have a boxing academy in Bolton. It’s not only about going there and punching.
Not everyone is as fortunate as I have been and alongside my boxing career, I want to do some good in the world, helping young people.
My hero, Muhammad Ali, did a lot of community work, helped the people – and I want to be doing things the same way.
Charity work and helping the community gives me the same adrenaline buzz as fighting. I’ve gone to places where kids have nothing – no food, no water – and you can make them laugh. It’s the best feeling ever.
Instead of buying a supercar, I stopped all that because I’ve seen how people out there live.
People like Floyd Mayweather, who is a very different character to me, they like to show it off. Instead of showing how much money we’ve got, what car, what watch, we need to show some help.
I want kids to put their energy into something positive and let their aggression out, but we’re educating them as well to have focus, discipline and respect in life.
As a sportsman in the public eye, young people may be more inclined to listen to me than to people they don’t know and if I can pass on any guidance or help with opportunities that change even just one person’s life for the better, I will be very proud.
That’s why I’ve teamed up with online financial trading broker Think Markets to set up ‘Ring the Changes’, a new initiative which will provide opportunities to help take young people off the street.
We’re going to work with kids at a London gym, provide some mentoring and talks and even possibly some employment opportunities.
I am confident that we can make a real difference through our activity and if we change the life of even one young person who might otherwise have been destined for a life of crime, it will be worth it.