"I'm going to give him $5,000 to build his house"
Amir Khan gifted $5,000 to his Olympic rival after rejecting the chance to buy the gold medal he missed out on.
The Bolton boxer showed generosity to Mario Kindelan, the man who beat him for the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic final in Athens.
Khan was just 17 at the time while the Cuban went into the bout as the Sydney 2000 gold medallist.
Khan went on to avenge his defeat in a rematch in 2005 before turning professional and becoming a world champion.
Now aged 52, Kindelan was unable to turn professional due to restrictions in his homeland.
Professional boxing has been banned for 60 years in Cuba. It only returned in 2022 under specific limiting regulations.
This was a rule initially implemented by Fidel Castro in 1962.
This saw Cuba become a dominant force in amateur boxing but as a result, some of the country’s top talents have left Cuba to turn pro.
Kindelan and Khan reunited at an event in Bahrain.
In a video, Amir Khan revealed the Cuban offered to sell him his gold medal for $5,000 to help build a house for his mother in Cuba.
Khan rejected the offer and instead, donated the money.
He said: “I’ve just met Mario and got talking to him. He told me a story; he wants to build a house in his country, Cuba, and wanted to sell me the gold medal, the one he beat me for.
“He said, ‘Amir, I’m going to give you the gold medal, just give me $5,000’.
“I told him that gold medal belongs to him, he’s the champion, he beat me in the Olympic final.
“So I’m going to give him $5,000 to build his house; it’s no publicity stunt, it touched my heart.
“That’s how desperate he is, he wants to give away his Olympic gold medal. It touched my heart and that’s the reason I’m going to give the money to him.
“I will give you the money for your mother’s home but you have to keep the gold medal.”
The legend Mario Kindelan. We boxed twice in the Amateurs. He beat me in the Olympic finals in Athens when I was 17, then a few month later we fought again and I beat him in bolton where I became number one lightweight in the world and turned over to the professional ranks with… pic.twitter.com/22chYQRL0G
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) December 1, 2023
Amir Khan later told talkSPORT:
“It was sad to see in a three-time World Amateur Champion, one of the best amateurs ever to come out of Cuba and two-time Olympic gold medallist.
“To see that, it hurts me. It hurt me when he was telling me that he had no money, so I gave him some cash.”
“He then said, ‘Do you wanna buy my gold medal?’ I thought he was joking at first.
“But he said, ‘I really wanna sell you my gold medal so I can build my mother a house, the family’s really poor and I wanna build a house for her’.
“I asked him how much the house was gonna be and he said it was gonna be $5,000.
“I said, ‘No problem, I’ll give you the $5,000, plus you have to promise me that you’ll keep the medal and never sell it to someone because you won the Olympic gold medal’.
“I said, ‘I’d never take that from you because you earned that’.
“I’m very happy that he told me the story because I would never let him sell that gold medal, and he’s promised me he won’t now.
“I’ve sent him the money and hopefully he can build his mother’s house now.”
It is reported that one of Khan’s business partners has doubled the donation.