British boxer Amir Khan has labeled rival fighter Kell Brook a “racist”, following an unsavory remark ahead of the long-awaited showdown between the pair.
The pair traded several barbs at a heated final press conference just days out from their Manchester bout this weekend, which will be held at a catchweight of two pounds above the 147-pound (66.6kg) welterweight limit.
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While there has been no lack of enmity in the build-up, Khan – who was born and raised in Bolton to Pakistani parents Falak and Shah – feels his bitter foe crossed the line with an insult he says was laced with racial undertones.
Khan’s anger centers around a comment Brooks made about his opponents’ ‘poppadom chin’ – a remark he insists was akin to having a ‘glass jaw’.
Brooks argues that he was merely referencing his opponent’s infamously susceptible punch-resistance, with Khan bringing up the contentious remark at the final press conference.
The topic was hastily changed, with Brook insisting that his words were taken out of context.
Khan says that he’s lost respect for his rival as a result of the controversy, and accused him of crossing a line by using a cultural reference to make an insult.
“It’s so sad that he had to come out with a comment like that,” Khan told the PA news agency.
“I respected him as a fighter, don’t get me wrong. It gives me an added push to stick it on him and give him a proper beating.
“At the end of the day we’re fighting each other but you still have some sort of respect for him – I think that’s gone out the window now. I thought maybe after the fight we could be friends, I don’t want to be his friend.
“People look up to Kell Brook, he’s on the biggest stage of his career. The reason we have to talk about this and get it out there is so people realize giving racial (abuse) should not happen and we are totally against it.
“Everyone needs to be on that and say ‘it shouldn’t happen’. People shouldn’t be racist especially in this day and age, come on. We’re in the 21st century and we shouldn’t hear anything racial now, but it’s still out there.”
Four of Khan’s five defeats in 39 fights have been stoppages and he has suffered devastating knockouts against Breidis Precott and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, while he is no stranger to rising from the canvas to win.
Brook said: “What (Khan) is trying to do is get everyone on his side and think I’m some kind of racist character when I’m not. There’s no way I’m racist at all.
“He’s trying to put me under the bus by getting people turn on me. I just meant by what I said is how delicate he is, poppadoms just break, which is the same as his chin.
“That’s the only angle I’m coming from. There’s no racial angle there at all, zero.”
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