AMIR Khan says he is relishing the challenge of leading the development of boxing in the Middle East.

With plenty of ties to the area, the Bolton fight great has been named the president of the World Boxing Council’s new Middle East Boxing Council.

The 33-year-old is tasked with, among other things, developing fighters and helping bring major events to the region, his last fight having been victory over Billy Dib in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in July 2019.

Khan said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to head up this incredible and historic project to establish and develop boxing in the region.

“The groundwork has already started in earnest behind the scenes and our team has drive and determination to see this long-term project through. We’re all relishing the monumental challenge ahead of establishing and building the sport from the ground up.”

Still not retired from the ring despite his lengthy absence from action, the former unified world champion is talking up the project as one that could define how he is remembered in boxing.

The project is close to Khan’s heart as the late José Sulaimán, the lifetime president of the WBC and current president Mauricio’s father, expressed his desire to Khan to one day see boxing become established and prosper in the Middle East and the former Olympian, with Mauricio’s blessing, will try and ensure that now becomes a reality.

“We planted the seed with my fight against Billy Dib in Jeddah last year which was an historic moment for the region to be the first Muslim boxer to fight for a title,” Khan, who has won 34 of his 39 fights since turning professional 15 years ago, added.

“Now with a WBC Middle East Council coming into operation, it will pave the way for big-name fighters and high-profile events to be staged there and for boxers in the region to have similar opportunities.

“Winning Olympic silver, world titles and fighting the best of my era has been an unbelievable career, but what we’re going to achieve in the Middle East and the lasting legacy we’ll leave in honour of José, I believe it is going to be the ultimate highlight of my career.”