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Amir Khan made his comments to British media at a farewell press conference. Photo: Reuters

Boxer Amir Khan says Asians blame racism and eat too much curry to reach pinnacle of sports - ‘our diet is appalling’

  • ‘Our diet is appalling,’ the newly retired boxer says. ‘It’s curries. It’s not the right diet to be a champion’
  • Khan says Asian footballers who cite discrimination are looking for excuses

British boxer Amir Khan has said many young Asian athletes lack the dedication and healthy diet needed to reach the top of the sporting world, and hide behind excuses such as blaming racism.

Khan, who last week announced his retirement from boxing, three months after his knockout loss to bitter rival Kell Brook, gave his comments on Monday during a farewell press conference.

Seen as a trailblazer for South Asian boxers in Britain, Bolton-born Khan said his 40-fight professional career – which included becoming unified world champion at light-welterweight – had inspired Asians aiming to succeed in Britain. But he said some, especially footballers, lacked dedication and looked for excuses.

“They all want to try now,” the 35-year-old said. “It’s an amazing platform for them to see what I’ve done and that it’s possible for them to do the same and achieve what I’ve achieved.

“People used to say: ‘We are Muslim, we are Asian, we can’t make it in boxing. We’re not going to be picked.’ It’s an excuse that all Asians use – that we’re never going to be picked.

“Look at football, for example. There are no Asian footballers [in Britain] but guess what they all say? ‘We won’t get picked because we’re Asian.’ I think that’s a f***ing load of bulls***, really. It’s a load of b****cks. Asians, when we can’t to a certain extent, give up. We don’t have it in us.”

Khan rose to prominence aged 17 at the Athens Olympics in 2004, when he won a silver medal for Britain at lightweight. But he said others looking to follow his lead may need to change their diet.

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“Look, us Asians are not really meant to be fighters,” he said. “We’re not supposed to be good sportsmen and women. Our diet is appalling.

“It’s curries. It’s not the right diet to be a champion. If you put us against a lot of English fighters their diet is a lot better. They’re stronger than us.

“But obviously I changed my way of living. Luckily, I started very young. But not many Asians become sportsmen and women, because we don’t have the diet. We don’t have the dedication. But if we see someone doing it, like if they’ve seen me do it, maybe that can inspire and motivate them.

“If Amir Khan has done it, being Asian and living on chapattis all his life and eating curries, we can do it. But you still have to take it easy on those things.”