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Amir Khan wants to promote Nicola Adams and Team GB boxing medalists – EXCLUSIVE

I'll make you a world champion! Khan wants to promote Britain's golden girl Adams

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UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 10 August 2012

EXCLUSIVE

Amir Khan wants to take gold medallist Nicola Adams under his wing after promising to make her a world champion.

The Leeds fighter made history at the ExCel Arena on Thursday when she was crowned the first ever female winner at the Olympics.

A silver medallist at the Athens Games in 2004, Khan lead the plaudits for the 28-year-old flyweight champion after her emphatic 16-7 final victory over China's world No 1 Ren Cancan.

Gold rush: Amir Khan wants to take Olympic flyweight champion Nicola Adams under his wing

Gold rush: Amir Khan wants to take Olympic flyweight champion Nicola Adams under his wing

And after obtaining a promoter's licence, the former world champion is keen to recruit Adams as his first marquee signing and help play a huge role in shaping the future of professional women's boxing.

'I'm happy to take Nicola under my wing. I will make her a world champion and she will make a lot of money,' said Khan, speaking to Sportsmail at his charity Olympics celebration event at Frost of London.

'Not many people know this but I own a promotion licence and what I want to do is start promoting more for girls.

‘I want to get kids of the street and get them to try out boxing and also take boxing to schools.'

Just as he influenced a host of the current crop of our Olympic medal hopefuls, Khan now believes Adams is the new torchbearer for inspiring the next generation and expects a surge in female participation.

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Future plans: Khan believes Adams can inspire more women to take up boxing after her success

'I read in an article that I inspired her and that made me incredibly happy. But she's a great fighter herself and she showed that she's going to be doing what I did in Athens and inspiring millions of young girls to get into boxing – even the guys.

'She's the face of British boxing for women. We've not had anyone like her for a long, long time.

'She's done it the proper way, winning a gold medal.

'Before you know it they'll be more weight categories introduced because they'll be so many looking to compete.'

Khan is confident that Adams has also battered any stigma attached to women's boxing, arguing that she is proof that the sport belongs to both genders.

He added: 'We have a gym in Bolton that not many people know much about and we get around 400-500 kids coming in every week. Of those at least 100 are girls. There are so many coming down to the gym we've had to put on two classes just for women. It's brilliant and I think it's only going to get better.

Girl power: Adams stunned China's Ren Cancan en route to winning her historic gold medal at the ExCel Centre on Thursday

Girl power: Adams stunned China's Ren Cancan (below) en route to winning her historic gold medal at the ExCel

Floored: Adams knocks Cancan to the canvas

'Maybe women didn't have the confidence before to get in the gym or never wanted the title to be a boxer. But I think now the way Nicola has proven everyone wrong and they'll be so many women taking part because it is a female sport too.'

Last month Khan suffered a shock defeat to Danny Garcia in Las Vegas to lose his WBA world light-welterweight title.

But true to his spirited character, he has refused to go into hiding and is plotting a return to the ring at the end of the year.

The Bolton fighter has been on the screens throughout the Games, watching most of the action from the Thames Docklands alongside a host of luminaries – including the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Khan kept an eye on Britain's three other leading medal contenders in action on Friday in middleweight Anthony Ogogo, super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua and welterweight Freddie Evans – all of whom he is keen to promote after the Games.

Bright future: Khan is also keen to promote bronze medal-winning middleweight star Anthony Ogogo

Bright future: Khan is also keen to promote bronze medal-winning middleweight star Anthony Ogogo

'I want to start looking at talent and promoting fighters,' he said. 'Maybe Anthony Ogogo, Anthony Joshua and Freddie Evans.

'I think I can do a great job doing that because I've had a great career so far. I know exactly what mistakes are made and what can be improved, like a lot of things I should never have done.

'To all the Olympians, the one thing I can say to them is I've been there and I know how to take them from being a star to a superstar. It's not only that but it's about making money because boxing is a business.

Looking ahead: Khan plans to return to the ring in December after a short break from boxing

Looking ahead: Khan plans to return to the ring in December after a short break from boxing

'I know what it takes to help a girl like Nicola or all the British fighters or any professional to the top and keep them there. I've had a great relationship with all the belts and all the promoters. I've worked with most of the best promoters in the world.’

The future certainly looks bright for British boxing with Adams and co deservedly forging themselves as household names. And King Khan is determined to play his part to both in and outside the ring.

'I don't really need to go out and tell people what I can do for them because they should know that anyway,' he added. 'I don't think no other fighter has done what I've done.

'I can promise the fighters who want to come with me will be world champions quicker than any other.'

Amir Khan was in London to host a charity evening in aid of his Gloves Community Centre in Bolton.
The boxer was joined by friends at boutique jewellers Frost of London on New Bond Street.

Former Athletic Bilbao manager Howard Kendall has warned Manchester United ahead of the Europa League

EXCLUSIVE: Beware Bilbao! Kendall: My old club are still ahead of their time

They may be a club steeped in history, but it was Athletic Bilbao’s capacity for shaping the future that first caught the eye of Howard Kendall.

The famous Basque club had just escaped a first-ever relegation from Spain’s top flight by the narrowest of margins, and their new English coach wasn’t entirely sure what to expect as he was driven to the training ground.

If he had any misgivings about a once-proud club in decline, though, he was soon put right.

The last time: Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Carmelo punches the ball clear in the game against Manchester United in 1957

1957 AND ALL THAT…

Manchester United's only previous meeting with Bilbao was a pulsating 6-5 aggregate win in the 1957 European Cup quarter-final.

They won the second leg — played at Maine Road because at that time Old Trafford did not have floodlights — 3-0 after losing 5-3 in Bilbao.

Our picture (above) shows two of United’s second-leg goalscorers, Dennis Viollet (third right) and Tommy Taylor (left), challenging Bilbao goalkeeper Carmelo Cedrun.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Wood; /03/07/article-2111711-120CFB46000005DC-150_468x312.jpg” width=”468″ height=”312″ alt=”The team of the past: Athletic Bilbao players training before their European Cup match with Manchester United in 1957″ class=”blkBorder” />

The team of the past: Athletic Bilbao players training before their European Cup match with Manchester United in 1957

‘I remember seeing bus after bus pull up, and after training the lads were in the classroom for proper lessons. Every Basque dad wants his son to play for Athletic. There’s that strong sense of local identity and they are all football daft.’

Kendall chuckles at the memory of his first training session and describes how he rebuilt an ageing squad in a way Andre Villas-Boas may care to take on board.

‘I felt it was important to do things my way, so I told the general manager I didn’t want anyone watching training,’ Kendall recalled. ‘He shook his head and said, “Sorry, not possible”. I repeated that I didn’t want anyone there, but again he just said, “Not possible”.

‘Apparently it was a long-held Basque tradition that some of the older supporters could come and watch the players train, and changing it would have caused uproar.

Ahead of their time: Former Athletic Bilbao manager Howard Kendall at the club's training ground

Ahead of their time: Former Athletic Bilbao manager Howard Kendall at the club's training ground

Meester: Kendall and his interpreter at training in 1987

Meester: Kendall and his interpreter at training in 1987

‘It was a day out for them, so I had to go along with it. And like everything about that club and the people who surrounded it, I grew to love it. Mind you, they did expect a prompt start, and when a few of the players were having massages one morning, and I was standing on the training pitch on my own, they were all pointing at their watches and saying, “Meester, meester”.

‘When the first player finally came out, I made him do a press-up, then the next one two press-ups, and so on. They gave me a look, so I said, “10.30 is the starting time, and 10.30 is when we’ll start”.

‘More generally, there were one or two players who had been successful but were nearing the end of their careers. I knew I would have to bring some of the youngsters through, but I sensed I could give the older ones a bit of a lift and get another season out of them.

‘It was just a case of making sure they left training with a smile on their faces, and that’s what happened more often than not.’

Revolutionary: Kendall could not believe there were beds at the training ground

Revolutionary: Kendall could not believe there were beds at the training ground

A prior engagement clashes with tonight’s game, but Kendall was relishing his lunch invitation. ‘I got a call from the vice-chairman, who I have known since my days coaching the club, apologising for not being on the trip,’ he said.

‘But then he said, “Do you remember Josu Urrutia, who you promoted from the reserves to the first-team squad Well, he’s president now. He’ll look after you”. I do remember him and it will be great to meet up.

Making his mark: Kendall during a Bilbao match

Making his mark: Kendall during a Bilbao match

‘The game should be some tie. Javi Martinez is brilliant and Fernando Llorente is like a typical English centre forward, a real physical threat. United have to try to cut off the service to him. But it’s not just those two that make me think United will need a decent lead for the second leg.

‘They may need a couple of goals, because they will wonder what has hit them over there. It’s only 40,000, but they make a noise like nowhere else. Sammy Lee said it was the best football stadium he had ever played in after a European Cup tie back in the 1980s.

‘It was 0-0 at Anfield, but Liverpool managed a 1-0 win over there. Sammy said he’d never known an atmosphere like it. The stands are very steep and they take fanaticism to a new level. But once the final whistle went, Sammy said Liverpool were applauded off. That’s the Basque people for you.’