Amir Khan clearly has no qualms about acknowledging the bold challenges of boxing’s up-and-coming generation of hungry fighters. 

Indeed, Khan, a former 140-pound titleholder, recently had nothing but praise for British compatriot Conor Benn, the 24-year-old welterweight prospect and son of two-time world champion Nigel Benn who recently called out the veteran, saying that he “wanted to send out to retirement, nicely.” Benn’s remarks came on the heels of a pair of impressive stoppages over Samuel Vargas and Sebastian Formella.

Khan (34-5, 21 KOs) made it clear he was not offended by those remarks. In fact, he practically welcomes them.  

“I like him because he wants to fight a big name and he’s not scared,” Khan told Brian Custer on the Last Stand Podcast. “You have to give him respect because I was the same way when I was around his age…and I was calling out the big names. You want to send statements to the world that, ‘Look, I’m here, I want to fight the best.’”

“I didn’t think it was disrespectful. I didn’t think it was bad. I like this kid.You have to be a young lion in boxing. You cannot be scared of anyone. He wants to fight the best.”

Still, Khan warned that Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) would still be biting off more than he can chew should a fight between them ever materialize. 

“It might be a little bit too early for him in his career [to fight me],” said Khan. “You can end up ruining your career, and I don’t want him to do that. So, maybe the best thing that happens is that he doesn’t fight me. 

“But, I mean, look, if he keeps performing the way he is performing in his fights then you know I’m sure he’ll be ready for world title fights and the big names out there. I remember sending a message back to him, I was like, ‘When I was your age I was world champion, it’s not like I’m scared.’ But look, he’s a young lion and he wants to fight the best at the moment. Props to him, bro. That’s the way, if you want to make it to the top.”

Khan, who says he is currently training, hopes to get back in the ring before the end of the year, perhaps sometime in the fall. His last fight was against Billy Dib in 2019, which he won by technical knockout. 

Benn is scheduled to take on Adrian Granados (21-8-3, 15 KOs) on July 31 at Matchroom Fight Camp in Essex, England.