Amir Khan: ‘People take advantage when you lend money’

Amir Khan: ‘People take advantage when you lend money’

Are the running expenses of being a boxer quite high?

I suppose when you add them up, they probably are. There is training camp, living abroad, getting the best trainers, best coaches, top-of-the-range physiotherapists, the best doctors, having a dietitian, a cook. The investment is worth it as the rewards at the end are so good.

Do you have plans for when your career ends?

Yes. I’m discussing investment opportunities all the time with people. I have already invested in a property portfolio so I am thinking I will be living off the rental incomes in part. I want to further develop that over the next few years.

Do you see yourself as a brand? Do you feel that you are something that sells things?

Yes, definitely. My relationships with sponsors are an important part of my income. And I do make money from merchandise that we sell through my website. However, I am also acutely aware that everyone has their time and I think this is mine, and so I’m making the most of it.

What has been your best business decision?

I’m hoping that the 1.2-acre site I have just bought in Bolton, which we are working into developing into a big banqueting hall, restaurant and a wedding hall, will pay good dividends.

What has been your worst business decision?

Rushing into the fight with Danny Garcia last year. I feel I should have probably not done that as I had just one fight set up a few months previously which had fallen through (a rematch with Lamont Peterson, who subsequently failed a drugs test), and, rather than wasting the 11-week investment in training so hard, I re-booked myself, possibly without thinking things through, had a couple of weeks off and then trained for another nine weeks and then didn’t win the fight with Garcia. Of course, I still made money on the bout but, long term, it wasn’t a great decision.

What was the most difficult lesson you’ve learnt about money?

Possibly people take advantage of me. I have a big heart and don’t like seeing people in difficulty, so I have lent money which I’ve never seen back.

Are you a saver or a spender?

I am more of a saver. The money I win from boxing I call “blood money”. I train day in, day out for it, I save it as I work too hard for it. And I am investing heavily into ways of making money in the future.

According to the press you spent £100,000 on an engagement ring for your wife, Faryal. Is that true?

It wasn’t that exact figure but around about it. I will spend a lot of money on something that is really important to me. So for my wedding, or my wife or family, it is fine to spend a lot.

What do you spend a lot of money on?

We went on a nice honeymoon, as I know when I am working it is hard, but that was a special occasion. I do like to treat myself to a new watch after every fight. I used to be into fast cars but they depreciate so much. If you buy a decent gold or diamond watch it will hold its value.

Are you naturally good with money or do you have to work at it?

I think sometimes it comes easy, some days it comes quite hard. I think you need good advisers and I’m happy to consult and rely on others to help me make good decisions. As my dad is looking after everything, ultimately I feel I am in very safe hands.

Do you have a personal pension or long-term financial strategy?

I’m sure I have got something set up by my dad but I’m not sure what that is. The long-term plan is to build up an investment portfolio in property, as I mentioned earlier. I have property in the United States and in Pakistan. Maybe in the future I will look at buying in Dubai.

Do you prefer to pay by card or cash?

Cash. I tend to carry £100 on me just for everyday use. I do have credit cards, of course, which I pay off every month. We work very closely with HSBC and American Express. I very rarely use debit cards.

What are your financial priorities for the next five to 10 years?

Maximising my income from my boxing career. That means going for the right fights, and making sure the right deals are on the table. I also work with a sponsorship team to get the right sponsors on board.

Starting a family is another priority. I want to make sure that my children live a normal life and won’t get spoilt, so they can be like every other kid.

Do you use a financial adviser?

I have one, yes. I speak to him occasionally, but I think I probably need to speak to a financial adviser probably more than I do.

Are you a good tipper?

I’ve never had complaints! Whenever I go out to restaurants they always look after me, as I’m a VIP, so it is part of the game. If Mr Khan is coming, I have to tip well. I don’t really know what percentage I tip, though.

Do you invest in shares?

No. I know people who have lost a lot of money, which has put me off a bit. Plus, I’ve never really been involved in that side of the financial world, nor has anyone in my family, so it just isn’t something that we have done.

If there was one thing you could change about the financial world, what would it be?

I’d like to see better state funding for sports. I founded my own community centre for the kids in my area of Bolton, which helps around 300 kids every week. But funding is very slow, and the charity and community centre has cost me around £1m so far. When I was growing up there was very little help for aspiring boxers.

Is there anything you don’t like about handling money?

I leave most things to my management team. It can be stressful, running a business and paying people and tax bills at the right time. I leave that to others to sort out. My priority is to be a boxer, not worry about money.

Do you bank online?

I don’t think so; I don’t deal with that directly.

Does money make you happy?

I think it makes a person happy, it definitely does. I do like having money and to some extent I like to share it out. I think having not enough does make your life harder. You do see people with no money and they can enjoy their lives but only if they are very good at making the most of their resources.

Amir Khan is dedicated to building a UK legacy and this is showcased every week at Gloves Community Centre in Bolton, which he set up in 2008. See

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