A sponsor of the British boxer Amir Khan would like to arrange a fight in Dubai but is concerned that the global financial crisis may make it difficult.
Amir Khan may fight in Dubai
DUBAI // A sponsor of the British boxer Amir Khan would like to arrange a fight in Dubai but is concerned that the global financial crisis may make it difficult and that the city is unproven as a venue for the sport. Reeyaz Moosa, the chief executive of Moosa Group Enterprises, which is based in Dubai, said he would meet Khan's representatives after the boxer's fight in London -tomorrow. "Depending on the financial situation, not just in Dubai but all over the world, with the credit crunch, we are hoping to bring him out here," Mr Moosa said. "I personally think Dubai has potential as a boxing venue and as his Dubai sponsor of course this is something we would love to see happen. We had Amir out here for a week promoting my company and when he came out he was very popular with the public." The London fight against Oisin Fagan, a US-based Irish boxer, is crucial for Khan after his surprising 54-second knockout by Breidis Prescott in Manchester three months ago. The 21-year-old Khan, who was lightweight silver medallist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, needs a victory to put him back on track. Khan was in Dubai in October to promote the launch of the Tejarah Executive, a commercial tower in Ajman run by Mr Moosa. While in the emirate he spoke of his desire to fight here. "It's a great place," he said. "It's where everything is happening. It would be brilliant to fight here and it is definitely something we are working on. I would love it and I am sure my fans would love to come here to watch me." But Mr Moosa, a long-term friend of Khan's father, said there were no suitable opponents in the country. "If Khan does fight here, it will not be with a UAE fighter. At the moment we have only got Eisa -Aldah. If we were to bring a fight out here the only way would be to fly someone out in order to get Sky TV and the media involved. That's the only way the promoter would make his money. To arrange a big fight like that will take a lot of logistics. We would have to look at promoters and big sponsors here. And we would have to look at a suitable venue. That's critical." The other issue would be whether Dubai had enough passion for the sport. "I've never seen a proper boxing match go on here. Will people pay the same prices for tickets as people in the UK or Vegas? Would trying to get, for example, Dh10,000 (US$2,725) or Dh5,000 for a ticket be possible? Would people turn up? These are all things that would need to be considered," Mr Moosa said. Another crucial factor is the Bolton boxer's performance in London tomorrow. Khan is now with new trainer Freddie Roach, who also works with a Filipino boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao, and Mr Moosa is confident he will do well. "I haven't spoken to Amir but I've spoken to his father and Freddie Roach and he's been training hard," he said. "He's planned and he's a lot wiser after being in LA so they're hoping he will win. When you lose a fight you learn from the mistake and that is very much Amir's mentality." Khan is also in negotiations with Dubai Sports City to open a boxing academy in the emirate. firstname.lastname@example.org