Alan Hubbard

At least one Brit named Khan scored a knock-out victory in a catchweight contest over a bigger opponent this weekend.

Labour MP Sadiq Khan - no relation to Amir, who sadly and almost inevitably was flattened by the Mexican monster Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their World Middleweight Championship contest in Las Vegas - won his fight to become London’s - and western Europe’s - first Muslim Mayor.

Which, politics apart, is great news for British sport and boxing in particular as he is a genuine and passionate fight fan.

Sadiq, built like a super-bantamweight, clobbered the six-foot plus heavyweight Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith in the polls and he reckons boxing training helped him keep fit and fresh for the electoral fray.

He works out regularly on the punchbag and trained as youngster with Earlsfield ABC, Frank Bruno’s alma mater, in south London. And while he never actually fought in the ring, three of his six brothers did and one of them, popularly known as Sid, is now the club’s head coach.

“I’m an avid boxing enthusiast,“ Sadiq assured me before the election.

“My youngest brother Khalid was an ABA champion and so was my nephew Arun. I trained at Earlsfield for many years to keep fit and grew to love the sport, although to be honest I was more of cricketer and footballer. My brothers used to tease me that I was scared to get my nose hit.”

Bus driver’s son Khan, 45, MP for Tooting, shares former Olympic silver medallist Amir's Pakistani heritage.

Boxing fan Sadiq Khan has become the first Muslim Mayor in western Europe
Boxing fan Sadiq Khan has become the first Muslim Mayor in western Europe ©Getty Images

He is also keen to promote sport through from the grass roots to the big time in the capital and is already in preliminary talks with Bernie Ecclestone about a possible Formula One race in central London as early as next year.

Ecclestone says it would be "fantastic" to have a race in the middle of the capital, and believes it would be popular with TV viewers.

A proposed London Grand Prix, including sections past Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, has previously been sketched out and races in Formula E, which used electric-powered cars travelling at up to 140mph, were held in Battersea Park last year.

However, plans for a Formula One race in the capital have been held up as secondary legislation is required to allow councils to close roads for high-speed road races. A spokesman for the Department for Transport said this would be addressed in "due course."

With the new Mayor’s backing this could become a reality.

His predecessor as London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who likes to think of himself as a bit of a bruiser, claimed to be a fight fan though he once admitted to me that he couldn’t name a current British boxer. ”I just love watching them biff each other,” he said.

However, Bojo did help orchestrate the brilliantly successful 2012 Olympics with his inimitable persona, picking up from Ken Livingstone who always professed not to be a "sporty Mayor" yet fought impressively to help get the Games for London, notably when Seb Coe’s team won the bid in Singapore.

The lanky Goldsmith turned out to be a lightweight Conservative candidate for the Mayoral title when obviously a heavyweight was needed.

One wonders whether Lord Coe himself, who surely would have been a shoo-in, now regrets not accepting the invitation to stand instead of stepping into the viper’s nest that is the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Coe denied this in a recent interview in the UK’s Mail on Sunday with Jonathan McEvoy, which was far more incisive and probing than the chummy chat he had on BBC TV earlier with his old running mate Steve Cram. 

The difference was that it was conducted by a decent pro and not someone who basically is an excellent athletics commentator but lacks proper journalistic skills.

McEvoy wrote: “Lord Coe had previously lived a gilded life: double Olympic champion in the blue riband 1500 metres, Conservative MP for Falmouth and Camborne, Government whip, ennobled pillar of the Establishment, chairman of the roaring London 2012 success and on to his dream job at the IAAF. Then the halo slipped."

Could IAAF President Sebastian Coe one day throw his hat into the ring for London Mayor?
Could IAAF President Sebastian Coe one day throw his hat into the ring for London Mayor? ©Getty Images

Coe responded:  “Yes, it was hard for me at times. I felt a weight on my shoulders. There were dark times. It took its toll on those closest to me. I was never questioning whether to carry on but I couldn't be oblivious to the fact that they were.

“This [the IAAF] is where I feel at home. That has given me comfort through the last few months.

"I don't diminish the nature of what we have to accomplish but I know we can come out of it. Look at London today. The sport is strong."

He is only the sixth president in the IAAF's 104-year existence. The first two, Sigfrid Edstrom, of Sweden, and Lord Burghley, of Chariots of Fire immortality, each served for about 30 years.

Coe says that, come what may, he will serve no more than one more term. He is 59 and would be 66 by the end of a second stint.

The rumour mill suggests the Presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is in his sights.

But he categorically rules that out. So for the record, is this his final job at the highest level of sports governance? “Yes, I can tell you that. Yes. For sure. For sure. This is my last role. Absolutely.”

But what about an eventual return to real politics?  It would not surprise me if after his work with the IAAF is done, for better or worse, if he has stab at the job of London Mayor to follow Khan.

As for Khan, while he fights the good fight in London we must ask whether his ballsy boxing namesake, who apparently got around £6 million ($8.6 million/€7.6 million) for his pains against Canelo, should now call it a day and rest on his considerable laurels.

Whatever he decides he is surely worthy of well-overdue gong in coming Honours Lists.