Former world boxing champion Amir Khan feared his “kids would grow up without their dad” during the gunpoint robbery of his £70,000 diamond-encrusted watch.
The 2004 Olympic silver medallist, 36, was targeted as he and his wife, Faryal Makhdoom, 31, left the Sahara Grill restaurant in Leyton, east London, on April 18 last year.
A trial at east London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how he was forced to hand over his bespoke, rose gold, diamond-encrusted Franck Muller watch, a gift following a boxing match, worth between £60,000 to £70,000, by gunman Dante Campbell, 20.
The Bolton-born boxer, who retired last year with a professional record of 34 wins from his 40 fights, has now opened up about the ordeal in an interview with the Sun on Sunday.
He told the paper: “In that moment, you think the worst … that the kids could be growing up without their dad, that Faryal would be raising them on her own.
“Your life flashes before your eyes. I leant my head to the right because I thought, if he is going to shoot me, he can shoot the side of my head. I don’t want to see the bullet coming.”
Gunman Campbell, of Hornsey, and getaway driver Ahmed Bana, 25, of Tottenham, both in north London, admitted conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of an imitation firearm during a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
They will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.
At Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, Ismail Mohamed, 24, of Edmonton, and Nurul Amin, 25, of Harringay, both in north London, were unanimously acquitted by a jury of conspiracy to rob Mr Khan.
Prosecutors had claimed Mohamed and Amin acted as “spotters”, dining in the restaurant to keep track of Mr Khan’s movements and relay them by phone to Bana.
Mr Khan, who has been confirmed for the upcoming I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! all-stars ITV series in South Africa, told the Sun on Sunday: “It was the first time I’ve ever seen a gun in my life. I could see down the barrel.
“I remember looking back seeing where my wife was. She ran back on the road and screamed ‘help!’
“At the time, I didn’t know what he wanted. I thought maybe this is a prank. I just took off the watch, he grabbed it.”
He added: “People said after, ‘You should’ve fought them’. Are they stupid? I’ve got a family. It’s only a watch. My life means more to me.
“When you have kids, you have a priority to make sure they are looked after. I am the breadwinner for the family. If I was with the kids, I don’t know what I would’ve done. Maybe I would have panicked and tried to run.”
His wife reportedly added: “I thought we were going to die on the spot.”
Mr Khan said he had been shopping in the Knightsbridge area while his influencer wife was doing a photoshoot, before the couple ate dinner with his friend Omar Khalid, breaking the Ramadan fast.
The robbery, which lasted just seconds, happened after they left the restaurant.