Khan pledges to use place in limelight

Amir Khan took less than two minutes to beat David Bailey on his professional debut on Saturday night before a bomb scare forced the evacuation of the Bolton Arena and brought his achievement into sharp perspective.

Amir Khan

Amir Khan took less than two minutes to beat David Bailey on his professional debut on Saturday night before a bomb scare forced the evacuation of the Bolton Arena and brought his achievement into sharp perspective.

Khan produced a superb performance to knock Bailey down twice and wrap up victory in one minute and 49 seconds before the fire alarm - the result of a hoax bomb threat telephoned to the arena shortly after 11pm - cut his celebrations short.

As Britain's most prominent Muslim sportsman, Khan is determined not to shirk what he feels is a responsibility to use his position to foster greater unity between communities both in his home town and beyond. He said he and his family struggled to come to terms with the horrific London bombings and added: "We need people to help and stop things happening like this.

"I will do everything I need to do to help and so will my friends and family. Last night was bringing people together like I did in the Olympics, when the whole country was behind me.

"Myself and my family were knocked back by the London bombings and we all need to be nice to each other now because there are a lot of bad things happening. I am just doing my bit."

The 18-year-old Khan, who was supported by over 6,000 fans waving flags of both Britain and his family's native Pakistan, is already showing a maturity inside and outside the ring which most who have met him believe will turn him into a future superstar.

His promoter Frank Warren said: "Amir is not just a boxer, whether he likes it or not he is a celebrity and a big star from day one. This lad could be anything. If he goes on to do what we expect him to do he will not just be a British star, but a world star too."

Khan has so far shown that he can shoulder the massive burden of expectation which has now become attached to him both inside and outside ring.

In front of the terrestrial television cameras, he was outstanding against Bailey who had sold 200 tickets himself and had never previously been stopped.

In a whirlwind start, Bailey roared from his corner and attempted to unsettle his opponent in much the same way as his stablemate Craig Watson had succeeded during February's ABA Championships, when Khan had briefly hit the deck.

But Khan kept his poise and countered superbly with a lightning left and right combination which dumped Bailey heavily for a count of nine.

Already Bailey's trainer Eugene Maloney appeared on the ring apron apparently in an attempt to call the contest off and save his clearly outclassed man.

Seconds later a flash left from Khan floored a bloodied Bailey again. This time Maloney threw in the towel and briefly clambered inside the ring in an attempt to attract the referee's attention.

Eventually referee Phil Edwards called the fight off to the delight of the majority of the capacity crowd.

Khan said: "I was hoping for four rounds but when I saw those openings I went for them and I managed to finish it off early.

"I was excited and nervous at the same time because I didn't know what to expect, but I preferred fighting without the headguard because I had more vision.

"I know this is the first step and I will go home and watch the tape now and hopefully improve."

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