Amir Khan was born and raised in Bolton, England. His family originated from Matore, Kahuta in district Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He belongs to the janjua Rajput clan, a martial and warrior tribe of the Punjab region. He has two sisters and one brother, Haroon Khan, who is an amateur boxer. Amir Khan is a practicing Muslim. He was educated at Smithills School in Bolton, and Bolton Community College.
Amir Khan began to box competitively at the age of 11, with early honours including three English school titles, three junior ABA titles, and gold at the 2003 Junior Olympics. In early 2004 he won a gold medal at the European Student Championships in Lithuania, and in South Korea several months later he won world junior lightweight title after fighting five times in seven days. One of his notable early amateur fights was against Victor Ortiz, whom he defeated in a second round stoppage.
Amir Khan qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympics by finishing in first place at the 1st AIBA European 2004 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He was Britain's sole representative in boxing at the Athens Games, winning a silver medal at the age of 17 in the lightweight boxing category. He was Britain's youngest Olympic boxer since Colin Jones in 1976. He lost in the final to the Cuban, Mario Kindelan. In 2005 he avenged the loss by beating the 34-year-old Kindelan in his last amateur fight.
On 2 February 2008, Amir Khan was scheduled to fight Martin Kristjansen, but illness forced the Dane to withdraw and instead Khan beat Australian Gary St Clair in a contest for the Commonwealth lightweight title at the ExCel Arena in London. This was his first fight to last all 12 rounds and was won via a unanimous 120–108 scoring from all three ringside judges.
On 5 April 2008, Amir Khan beat Kristjansen in the seventh round of a WBO world lightweight title eliminator. Before the contest, the fighters had been ranked third and fourth respectively by the WBO. After Amir Khan's victory, he was ranked second, behind only Joel Casamayor.
On 21 June 2008, Amir Khan fought against Irishman Michael Gomez, at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. Gomez, a super featherweight champion who was reaching the end of his career lost the last one of his six fights. On 6 December 2008, Amir Khan recorded a win against Oisin Fagan in a second-round stoppage. With victory, Amir won the vacant WBA International lightweight title. Amir Khan knocked Fagan down twice in the first round and Fagan's corner threw in the towel in the second, after being knocked down again.
In early 2009, it was announced that Amir Khan would fight former seven-time and three-weight world champion Marco Antonio Barrera on 14 March, at the Manchester Evening News Arena. On 14 March 2009, at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England, Amir Khan defeated Barrera. With victory, Amir Khan defended his WBA International lightweight title and also won the vacant WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title.
On 18 July 2009, Khan moved up to the light welterweight to fight Andreas Kotelnik at the MEN Arena in Manchester for the WBA World light welterweight title. Amir won by a unanimous decision, 120–108, 118–111, 118–111, and became the third-youngest Briton to win a world title, at the age of 22.
On 6 October 2009, Frank Warren confirmed that Amir Khan would defend his WBA World light welterweight title against undefeated Ukrainian American boxer Dmitry Salita, the mandatory challenger, on 5 December, at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Due to Amir Khan being a practising Muslim and Salita being an Orthodox Jew, the fight was hyped as a religious clash by the media, referring to it as a "battle of faiths" or "holy war", though Amir and Salita have both denied such claims. On 5 December 2009, Amir Khan defeated mandatory challenger Salita in 76 seconds, winning by technical knockout in the first round. Salita was knocked down three times, the first time after just 10 seconds into the fight. It was the first ever loss of Salita's career.
On 9 March 2010, Golden Boy Promotions confirmed that WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan and former light welterweight world champion Paulie Malignaggi would hold a press conference in London to announce their world title bout set for 15 May at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. This was Khan's first bout in the United States of America. The fight was for the WBA light welterweight title, which Amir Khan won in the 11th round. Immediately after the fight, Amir Khan stated he wanted to fight Marcos Maidana next, and that he would not be leaving the light welterweight division until he had unified the various belts, suggesting that the way to do this would be for him to fight Maidana, and then go on to face the winner of a Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley match.
Amir Khan successfully defended his title for the third time against WBA interim champion and mandatory challenger, Marcos Maidana on December 11, 2010, in Las Vegas. Amir dominated the fight early and knocked down Maidana in the first round with multiple body shots. Maidana responded positively to the fight by saying, "It was a hell of a fight. He (Amir) is a great, skillful and fast boxer.
After a war of words with Judah on Twitter, Amir Khan agreed on May 31, 2011 to fight Zab Judah in attempt to unify the IBF and WBA Light Welterweight titles in Las Vegas on 23 July, 2011. Amir Khan defeated Judah by Knock Out in the 5th round with a body shot after dominating all the previous rounds. Amir now hopes to fight Mexican ring legend Erik Morales sometime in December. After Morales, Amir Khan believes a potential bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr will be in the making.
Charity work is also very important to Amir Khan and he is very committed to the cause of helping people in need. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Khan assisted in helping raise £1 million for victims of the disaster. After the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, Khan went to Pakistan and handed out food parcels to children in a camp. In 2008, he raised more than £6,000 for a firefighter who was badly burned while trying to save a family from an arson attack in Bolton. He has spent £1 million of his own money on opening the Gloves Community Centre and boxing gym in Bolton to get youths off the streets.
Amir Khan’s first cousin Sajid Mahmood is the English cricketer and apart from boxing Amir also enjoys playing cricket, football and basketball.