HAARIS Khan of Penarth is not your typical 19-year-old.

An amateur boxer, he is taking on men with years more experience in the ring – and winning.

Mr Khan recently took on the Haringey Box Cup in London’s Alexandra Palace, one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the world, and won on points.

“I started boxing when I was about eight or nine years old,” Mr Khan said. “My dad took me down to the club in Penarth as soon as I started expressing an interest. I can’t really remember a time without it.”

Although he now trains with Grangetown ABC, Mr Khan begun his career in Penarth. After winning a Welsh tournament, he has been given the chance to train and spar with Welsh champions.

“I’m very hopeful about going on to represent Wales internationally. I’m a student – I study marketing at Cardiff Met – but boxing is what I’m fully committed to at the moment.

“Every morning, I’m up at 6am. I train every day, sparring hard.

“I started out in Penarth, then moved to Grangetown’s club around four or five years ago.

“I’m obviously proud of everything I’ve accomplished, but it’s one of those things – I’ve set myself a task, a challenge to overcome. Every day, it’s about trying to move forward, to push myself to be better, to do the best I can.”

After turning 18, Mr Khan began to take part in the open championships. While he was previously pitted against opponents of a similar age – and experience – he now takes on men with years more training.

“This is my first senior year, fighting men. So it was a big step up.

“I don’t think there’s any advice you can give for something like that. You just turn up to the gym and try hard. There’s not much more you can do than believe in yourself!

“I’m definitely about training, not talent. I don’t think I – or anyone else – could’ve just walked into the ring and won these tournaments.

“Previous tournaments are very limited – your opponent is always someone in the same age range. But I was confident and getting to fight people with an edge over me gave me motivation to train ever harder.”