Amir Khan visits Walsall gym and encourages kids to 'put down the knives'
Amir Khan urged youths to "put down the knives" during a special visit to a Black Country boxing club.
The former light-welterweight world champion held a sparring session and delivered an inspiring speech at Pound 4 Pound Boxing Academy in Stafford Street, Walsall.
The 33-year-old was invited down by the gym's owners, who are trying to get youngsters off the street through boxing.
WATCH: Khan in the ring at Walsall gym
Khan has fought everywhere from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to Madison Square Gardens in New York earning millions of pounds. But he was more than happy to accept the invite, as the issue is close his heart, and he believes boxing kept him out of trouble as a youngster before he went on to win a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics aged just 17.
Khan told the Express & Star: "It is nice to see the next generation of boxers coming through. When I was a youngster, I was very hyperactive, I was very naughty, I used to get in trouble.
"But my dad took me to a boxing club when I was eight-years-old."
"Boxing changed my life for the better, it taught me discipline," he said.
But while Khan is an active campaigner on knife crime, he believes the Government needs to do more to tackle the issue.
"The Government needs to support boxing more and help get youths off the street," he said.
"The Government needs to do more for communities. (Children) are going to school with knives. The next thing is they will be carrying guns.
"The message is 'put down the knives, put on the gloves'."
He was impressed with the budding boxers at Pound 4 Pound, saying the gym's young fighters have "amazing" potential to become a star like him.
The gym's head coach is Toheed "Dr Tee" Tazeem and his assistants are Alimaan Hussain, Saeed Ghakar, Anzer Nabeel and Naveed Rehman.
Dr Tee said: "Words can't describe what it was like having Amir there that day. The gym was lit up.
"The kids were really excited to watch him train."
Khan also used the sparring session as a warm-up for his next planned fight, which has earmarked to take place either in March or April.
Khan has yet to officially secure an opponent but his boxing camp are working on a number of names. This could be his last fight, having already had 39 bouts.
"Hopefully we are looking at the end of March or April," he said.
He added: "I only have got a handful of fights left. I have almost had 40 fights now. I have always said on my 40th fight, let's see how I feel. The support I have had from the fans has been amazing."
- Pound 4 Pound Boxing Academy is run by a team of volunteers. The gym is open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information, call the gym on 07480705560.