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Amir Khan to put fighting career on hold to enlist in national service: 'I feel ready to serve my country'

Chan Sung Jung was recently forced to put his MMA career on the backburner in order to enter national service and the "Korean Zombie" is not the only featherweight currently trying to juggle fighting commitments with an obligation to serve his country.

Amir Khan is one of Singapore's top prospects and already has two first-round stoppage wins in his ONE Championship career but the 20 year old, who will be fighting in Kuala Lumpur next month, faces the prospect of having to spend a year or two on the sidelines.

"I enlist in May. I feel ready to serve my country and will it be a challenge to myself to keep training as often as I can but I hope I can fight in Singapore in May," he said.

Because of Khan's Tourettes Syndrome, he has been judged to be non-combat fit, which is ironic given that he is a successful cage fighter, and expects to be assigned a 9-5 job which he hopes will allow him to squeeze in training sessions before and after work.

But before he turns his thoughts to national service Khan has another fight lined up on March 13th when he faces Florian Garel at ONE Championship: "Age of Champions." The Singaporean's three pro fights have all finished in the first round and he expects more of the same at Stadium Putra next month.

"I feel finishing fights is very important in MMA because fan loves to see exciting finishes and we are both hungry for a win, so I am sure this will be an exciting fight and I am looking forward to fighting in Kuala Lumpur for the first tine."

After going 5-0 in amateur competition, Khan's professional career got off to a bad start when he was submitted in the opening round. Subsequent to that loss he returned to his native Singapore to join the Evolve MMA fight team and feels this marked a major turning point for him.

"Trying out for Evolve MMA was the best decision I ever made because my whole game has skyrocketed since joining the fight team and I progress quickly training here with all the guidance of the world champion trainers."

ONE Championship (as ONE FC is now known) is headquartered in Singapore and interest in the sport has grown exponentially since the promotion's inception in 2011. Khan is currently the most touted fighter in the country and says he feels a burden of responsibility every time he sets foot inside the cage.

"Winning my fight in Singapore was the best moment of my career and I want to be the first ever MMA champion from Singapore. The support of the fans means a lot to me and makes me more determined to succeed, I hope some of them will come and watch me fight in Malaysia."

Before moving back to Singapore in 2014, Khan spent a couple of years studying in the U.S. where he competed regularly in amateur MMA and thinks this experience gave him a good base from which to launch a pro career.

"It definitely helped me a lot because I was able to get used to the feeling of being in a cage and the rhythm of MMA."

It certainly gives him an advantage over many fighters in South East Asia, where the amateur infrastructure is not as strong as in the U.S. and most fighters jump straight into professional competition. That's why Khan feels that even with two years of national service hanging over him, he is still ahead of the curve.

"I can still train at Evolve MMA and work on my wrestling for MMA with Heath Sims, my Muay Thai with Kru Orono, and do drilling and sparring with team mates like Leandro Issa and Eddie Ng so even when I am on national service, I will still improve. I might not be able to fight as often, but by the time I finish, I will be an even better fighter than I am today."

www.twitter.com/jamesgoyder

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