This week saw Amir ‘King’ Khan hit the headlines for a number of reasons, one of the stories, which didn’t hit the front pages, was the news that Khan has rekindled his professional relationship with former manager and family friend, Asif Vali.
BNTV sat down with Vali to discuss how the pair reunited and their plans going forward.
“The situation arose that Amir came to me, to ask for some advice and help,” said Vali. “My son had passed away in September last year and for me, I’ve not worked for a while so I thought was the perfect opportunity for me not to be missing and to work with Amir again.
It was a very recent development, we had a number of conversations and as a result, we’ve started working together again.”
Since 2013, Khan’s father, Shah, and uncle, Taz, had spearheaded Khan’s business through Khan Promotions but are no longer working with Amir in a business capacity.
“Amir is working on his own and not with his family anymore,” said Vali. “I am advising him on his business affairs.”
Vali will now attempt to fill the void, working with Khan in the same role as he did in the past.
“We’re going to work in the same capacity [as in the past],” stated Vali, who last worked with Khan in 2013. “I’m going to look after his [Amir Khan’s] business affairs, make sure his fights are right, and do what I can for him. It’s like 24 hours, 7 days a week work and I’ve just got to try and advise him the best I can with a view of making sure that he is finishing his career off well.”
So, who can we expect to see in the ring with Khan in 2017? Whilst discussions are underway, there are no potential opponents that can be named at the moment.
“Discussions have started to take place already, there’s a number of discussions in place. I’m going to meet Al Haymon, I’m due to fly out to America and have discussions with Al, and between Al Haymon, myself and Amir we’ll be trying to get the best plan and fights for Amir moving forward.
No names as yet. It’s just a matter of Amir to go and get into training camp, to look at how his hand is going to be after his operation and then for further discussions with Al Haymon. Then we’ll decide after speaking to Virgil [Hunter] who the best opponent is and look at trying to get him [Amir Khan] back out in April/May.”
Vali also stressed that since Khan’s hand injury has kept him out of the ring for 12 months, how well the injury heals will play a vital role in dictating Khan’s next opponent.
“[The next opponent] depends on his hand situation and we’ve got to look at who’s around at what time,” said Vali. “Boxing is all about timing and you don’t know who’s going to be around at what time, we’ve got to make sure we plan carefully and make sure we get him [Amir Khan] the right opponents at the right time.
At the same time, he [Amir Khan] has not got many fights left and we’ve got to make sure he capitalizes as much revenue as he can.”
Khan and Vali are keen to play this smart, making the most of their last few hands at the table and whilst that means we could initially end up seeing Khan in a tune-up fight, world titles, and big names are still undoubtedly the goal.
Two of those big names include Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, who are set to face off in a highly anticipated unification fight on March 4th. Vali sees both Thurman and Garcia as potential future opponents for Amir and is not at all worried about Angel Garcia’s past reluctance to see a rematch between Danny and Amir.
“They’re both [Thurman and Garcia] fights that are doable and they’re both fights that can happen. It just depends on what terms and where it happens. The Thurman fight is a phenomenal fight for Amir and the Garcia fight is a great story.
As for Garcia, if you get put in position, if you get put in the right position, you’re mandatory, you get what you’re worth and there is nothing he [Angel Garcia] can do about it.
Obviously, Amir’s not there yet, we’ve just got to wait and see how Thurman and Garcia develop and see which direction we’re going to take Amir.”
Khan, who is currently on a charity tour in the U.S, is expected back in full-time training in the next few weeks.
“He’s [Amir Khan] out in America at the moment,” said Vali. “He’s doing a charity tour for the AK Foundation, to try and raise as much money as he can for his wells project in 2017 and then he’s back in training from January.”
You can follow Asif Vali on Twitter at @asifvali