LONDON: Former world boxing champion Amir Khan has said he feared his children would grow up fatherless after he was robbed at gunpoint in London last year.
Khan, 36, had been dining at the Sahara Grill restaurant with his wife Faryal Makhdoom, 31, and their friend Omar Khalid to break their Ramadan fast on April 18, before Khan and Makhdoom were confronted outside by a gunman.
Dante Campbell, 20, stole a Franck Muller watch worth up to £70,000 ($85,000), having pointed a gun at Khan and instructed him to “take off the watch.”
The watch — a bespoke present made of rose gold and encrusted with diamonds — has not been recovered.
Khan, originally from Bolton in the north of England, told The Sun: “In that moment, you think the worst … that the kids could be growing up without their dad, that Faryal would be raising them on her own.
“Your life flashes before your eyes. I leant my head to the right because I thought, if he is going to shoot me, he can shoot the side of my head. I don’t want to see the bullet coming.”
Khan, an Olympic silver medalist in 2004 who retired from professional boxing last year having won 34 of his 40 professional fights, said: “It was the first time I’ve ever seen a gun in my life. I could see down the barrel. I remember looking back seeing where my wife was. She ran back on the road and screamed ‘help!’”
Makhdoom told The Sun that she thought she and her husband “were going to die on the spot.”
Asked if he should have used his boxing abilities to fight off Campbell, Khan said: “I’ve got a family. It’s only a watch. My life means more to me. When you have kids, you have a priority to make sure they are looked after. I am the breadwinner for the family.
“If I was with the kids, I don’t know what I would’ve done. Maybe I would have panicked and tried to run.”
Khan added that the incident had forced him to relocate his family to Dubai, and that when back in the UK, he spent £600 per day on security.
“I love England,” he said. “I won a medal for the country, but I stay in Dubai now because it’s the only place I feel safe.”
Campbell and his getaway driver, 25-year-old Ahmed Bana — both from north London — admitted conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of an imitation firearm at their trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court. They are due to be sentenced at a later date.
Two men accused of being “spotters” inside the restaurant for Campbell and Bana to target Khan — Ismail Mohamed, 24, and Nurul Amin, 25 — both from north London, were acquitted of conspiracy to commit robbery.