RUMOURS ABOUND ON NEXT TRAINER FOR KHAN
By: Peter Mann, Head UK & Eire Editor
Following his much publicized recent split from his trainer, WBHOF Freddie Roach, Amir Khan (26-3, 18KO) is now entering a period of a much discussed media relaying rumors as to who is next trainer will be. The decision to split from Roach arrived after Khan lost his last two, high profile bouts, first against Lamont Peterson (SD12 in December 2011) and then against Danny Garcia (TKO4 in July 2012).
The split was envisaged for several weeks before it was finally made official earlier this month and, although there was some angst surrounding it considering the nature of their parting of ways, Khan made a move to remove some of the animosity when, in the past few days, released the following official statement on the matter.
“After nearly four years together, in which we enjoyed some great success, I part ways with my trainer Freddie Roach. I would like to thank him for all his hard work and help during this period and express my gratitude to him for the progress he helped bring about whilst I was under him.
I would also like to thank his team. I loved every minute training in LA at the Wildcard Gym, learning and sparring alongside some truly great fighters and meeting some fantastic people. I feel now, however, is the right time in my career to make a fresh change and bring in a new trainer.
“I’m looking forward, and am excited, about the prospect of working alongside someone new. I will make an announcement in due course of who this will be. There are some specific aspects of my game I’m looking to work on and hopefully improve.
“My next training camp begins in early October and I will have everything in place by then.”
Having made his professional debut with a first round TKO over David Bailey back in July 2005 ‘King’ Khan won his first 18 bouts under his then trainer, and former Light Welterweight, Oliver Harrison. Khan took the surprising decision then to part ways and made what was, looking back, an error in judgment. Harrison’s replacement was the former trainer of the Cuban Amateur Boxing Team, Jorge Rubio.
Rubio was only in charge for around four months and was dismissed after he oversaw Khan’s first defeat, against Breidis Prescott, courtesy of a shock first round knock-out in September 2008. Prior to that shock defeat Khan had already been successful in claiming the Commonwealth and WBO Intercontinental Lightweight straps, making four successful defenses’ of the former and one of the latter.
After the defeat to Prescott though Khan sharp returned to his best and in March 2009 shocked the fight world when he defeated Marco Antonio Barrera for both the WBA International and the then vacant Intercontinental Lightweight titles with a fifth round technical decision success. The rise soon continued as the ‘King’ defended his throne against all comers over a devastating period of astounding success.
From defeating Barrera, Khan both won and then made four successful defenses of the WBO World Lightweight title and then scored a fifth round knock-out success over Zab Judah in July 2011. That victory over Judah saw Khan claim both the WBA Super World Light Welterweight and IBF Light Welterweight titles. And then there was the recent downfall.
December of 2011 and Khan would suffer an SD12 defeat to Lamont Peterson, losing both the title he had won in the bout with Judah then, seven months afterwards he crashed to a fourth round TKO defeat against Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia when challenging for the WBC Light Welterweight and WBA Super World Light Welterweight straps.
That was enough for Khan to lose his mental frame and begin taking steps to rid himself of Roach. Numerous conversations were had, both publicly and privately, but Khan’s mind was made up and Roach was to be gone.
Roach had been Khan’s trainer since the ill-fated decision to hire Rubio during 2008. Roach turned Khan’s career around with immediate effect and his standing within the boxing society can be seen not only in Khan’s record prior to the recent consecutive defeats but other factors as well. Roach was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame (WBHOF) earlier this year, and has a training record as long as the proverbial arm.
Under the guidance of Roach down the years there have been the likes of Steve Collins, Oscar de le Hoya, Peter Manfredo Jnr, Wayne McCulloch, Bobby Pacquiao, Peter Quillin, Johny Tapia, James Toney and Mike Tyson, amongst numerous others. At present he trains around half a dozen fighters including that of the eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr (who lost the recent super bout against Sergio Martinez).
But what happens next though for Khan?
Numerous names have been bandied about as not only potential opponents but also a new trainer, more so after his recent statement. And, although just a rumor at the time of writing, the most likely point of contact for trainer comes in the shape of Virgil Hunter, trainer of the self-proclaimed S.O.G., the undefeated Andre Ward (26-0, 14KO). And, although Hunter also trains Mike Dallas Jnr and Brandon Gonzales, there could be the feeling that Hunter will be able to solve Khan’s issue with Roach regarding spending more time with him during training camps. Time will tell how this will pan out.
The announcement of Khan’s next trainer, and no doubt opponent, is to be expected sooner rather than later.
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