Amir Khan’s dream fight with Mayweather threatened by ISIS backlash

Amir Khan’s long-held dream of fighting Floyd Mayweather could be ruined as a result of “terrorist backlash” following the string of murders carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Khan has long been coveting a huge-money superfight against Mayweather, but the Independent on Sunday reports that US boxing promoters are growing in their reluctance to promote a Muslim boxer.

The 27-year-old Khan has consistently and repeatedly condemned terrorist atrocities linked to his religion, but the paper reports that his career looks set to suffer regardless.

“Any Muslim fighter would be a hard sell to TV audiences in such a high-profile fight, especially should the situation escalate,” a leading promoter told the Independent on Sunday.

”There is so much Islamophobia around here following the hostage killings that it might be considered too great a risk.”

Khan was invited to a White House dinner with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011, the only British guest among a group of prominent Muslim sports personalities, but he has since reported being subjected to extensive security checks every time he travels to the country because he is Muslim.

Four months before the White House dinner he had been detained by immigration authorities in Los Angeles after a flight from London, and he has constantly suffered issues when attempting to enter the US.

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amirHe wrote on Twitter: “Landed in LA safe, but the customs took the **** again because I’m Muslim. Kept me in some holding room for over two hours. They were so arrogant and unprofessional.”

In May 2010, he had to train in Canada after being refused entry to the US because of delays in issuing a work visa.

Even last week, Khan was initially refused clearance at Manchester airport to board a plane to Las Vegas to watch the Mayweather fight.

Asif Vali, Khan’s former business manager, says that the legacy of terrorism is a major factor in causing problems at immigration control.

“His name is Khan; he is a Muslim; between visits to the United States, he visits Pakistan; and goes to another Muslim country, Egypt, on holiday. All these things are taken into account by US Homeland Security.”

Amir’s father hopes that the family’s faith will not damage the prospects of a big-money fight.

”We have heard nothing of this nature and I certainly hope it is not the case. It would be very unfair because Amir has always done his utmost to harmonise relationships between communities,” he said.

“His views as a Muslim are the opposite to any extremist elements. He has always been popular in the United States.”

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