Singapore MMA fighter Amir Khan returns to the ring with a point to prove
It has been nearly a year since Amir Khan’s last fight – the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter’s long absence from the octagon has even sparked talk that he is hanging up his gloves.
But the Singaporean is only too happy to squash such rumours as he faces familiar foe Eduard Folayang of the Philippines at the One Fight Night 14 event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sept 30.
“People have been asking me if I’m retired, to let everyone know, I’m 28, I’m still young, don’t count me out,” he said, adding that his absence was due to “contractual issues”.
His last bout – a first-round knock-out loss to Malaysian fighter Keanu Subba – was last August but he has not been idle. Instead, he has been working on getting rid of his bad habits and brushing up on his grappling skills in a bid to improve his form – he has won just three of his last seven fights.
He said: “I was just focusing on what I can improve on right now. I was working with my coach, just developing different skill sets in the grappling area.”
Amir, who lost to Folayang in a 2018 lightweight title bout by unanimous decision, believes that he has finally found a few submission sequences that he is confident in. He added: “Even if I take Folayang on the ground, I can finish him.”
Folayang will be representing his new team, Lions Nations MMA, which he formed with several ex-teammates in June. He said: “It (the fight) will be held in Singapore where I became a champion, so I will do the necessary things that I need to get that break.”
Outside of MMA, Amir has been busy with his family and store, Leon and Friends, an indoor play space for children at Marina Square.
He added: “I’ve been really active for the last 10 years fighting so it was like a mini break, when you constantly have a fight, you can’t really focus on other things, sometimes it’s good to (have a break to) settle other responsibilities.”
Amir admitted that he did not expect to take such a long break as he had initially planned to rest for six months. However, his contractual issues with Singapore-based promotion One Championship took time to iron out.
He said: “It took a few months to negotiate a contract that would be a win-win. I’ve always been training so, in my mind like I’m ready to fight any time, all I have to do is just sharpen the sword.”
He has since signed a six-bout contract with One Championship and will be focused on fights for the next two years.
The Fight Night 14 event will be One’s first in Singapore since March.
The main card will feature Thailand’s top-ranked atomweight fighter Stamp Fairtex against South Korean Ham Seo-hee for the One interim atomweight world championship title.