Amir Khan said he realized his days in the ring were coming to an end when he started suffering a string of injuries ahead of his last fight with Kell Brook.  

The former WBA and IBF super-lightweight champion called time on his career on Friday, three months after a one-sided loss to his long-time rival Brook, but he said that he knew he was finished before he even stepped in the ring. 

“I’d worked hard, don’t get me wrong, I’d trained hard, but I didn’t have it in me,” Khan said. “I was already done as a fighter. That’s when it hit me in training camp. 

“I got injuries in training camp, but I didn’t want to tell people about that because I didn’t want people to say ‘Amir is making excuses’. 

“I tore my rotator cuff, my tendon split in half in my right arm, it’s still sore now and I can’t lift it up much. Then my knees were hurting. I was still pushing myself hard and then that’s when it hit me, ‘do you know what, I don’t have it left in me’. 

“But I couldn’t let anyone down, the fans down, it’s such a fight, I can’t walk away from this fight, so I’m going to go ahead with it. But deep down in my mind, I wasn’t mentally prepared. 

“I didn’t have it in me. I’m not going to fight again, I could see that it’s not me, I just don’t have it in me. I’m not as good as I used to be. So, I had to be honest with myself and call it a day.” 

The 35-year-old says he has no regrets about losing to Brook, a fight that had been brewing for more than a decade. 

“No regrets because everyone would have hated me for not taking that fight,” Khan said. “In boxing there is always a winner and a loser and people know I gave them the fight they always wanted. 

“Maybe it might have been a different story if it had been a couple of years earlier, but it is what it is. On that night Kell was the better fighter and he won.” 

While he has not held a world title for a decade, Khan was always a big name in the sport, from the moment he won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics as Great Britain’s lone boxer at the age of 17. 

He went to America after becoming a world champion and had his most successful period when trained by Freddie Roach. 

“I think I’ll be remembered as a fighter who never shied away from any fighter,” he said. “I tried to give everyone the biggest fights they ever wanted, tried to have them on the edge of their seats and win, lose or draw, it was always an exciting night whenever Amir Khan fought. I hope I’ve left that feeling behind and people will always remember that Amir Khan was an exciting fighter, who gave his all when he stepped inside the ring.” 

While he never managed to get the fights he wanted against Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, he headlined in Las Vegas five times – the same number as Ricky Hatton, as well as at Madison Square Garden.  

“If I did it again, maybe I would have taken the Kell Brook fight a little earlier in my career, but other than that, no. I’m very happy with the way my career went. 

“The defeat that hurt most was against Danny Garcia. I was in that fight and just let it go, which was silly. The best fight was the Marcos Maidana fight because it catapulted me in America at that time.” 

But while some are tempted back, with even Mayweather, Mike Tyson and Hatton returning for exhibitions, Khan, who has plans to get involved in promoting as well as working as a pundit, says he will not step back in the ring. 

“Why continue when anything can happen?” he said. “I’ve got a beautiful family, beautiful kids, I’ve got enough money in the bank so let’s sit back and relax. 

“You’re only one punch away from getting hurt, knocked out or even killed. That’s something I was always scared of, that I wouldn’t be there for the kids.  

“While I’ve got the chips on my side, I’m happy to walk away and call it a day. There’s no point making all this money and you don’t enjoy it.” 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.