EXCLUSIVE: Khan appoints Ward's trainer Hunter as replacement for Roach
13:13 GMT, 27 September 2012
Virgil Hunter, the American who guided Andre Ward to his Super Six Final conquest of Carl Froch, is set to be appointed as Amir Khan’s new trainer.
Ward, who unified two of the world super-middleweight titles with his victory over Froch the Nottingham Cobra, has been developed by Hunter into one of the top five pound-for-pound boxers on the planet.
Team Khan have chosen Hunter to replace Freddie Roach, the Hall of Famer regarded by many as the best trainer in the world, following two consecutive defeats.
Replaced: Amir Khan (right) has swapped Freddie Roach (left) with Virgil Hunter
Khan’s chief concern was that he was a second priority to Manny Pacuiao for Roach, who is also involved with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
But the knock-out defeat inflicted by Danny Garcia in his most recent bout raised some alarm about the need for more focus on his defensive skills.
Under Hunter’s tutelage, Ward has become almost as difficult to hit as Floyd Mayweather Jnr. Khan is turning to him in the realisation that he cannot afford another set-back after being first robbed of his world light-welterweight championshp by drugs cheat Lamont Peterson, then stopped by Garcia in his first attempt to regain a title.
Kahn was known to have been in talks with several leading trainers, including Hunter, and the decision has now been taken.
Before they came to a deal, Hunter said: ‘Amir is very talented and an exceptional offensive boxer.
Not again: Khan lost to Danny Garcia under Roach's tutelage
But there are some aspects that need correcting.Personally I don’t think that would be too difficult to achieved and then he should be able to regain his position as a world champion.’
When asked if the old doubts about Khan’s chin had re-surfaced against Garcia, Hunter said: ’One thing they do need to is keep him away from big punchers for the moment.’
Having trained predominantly of late at Roach’s fabled Wild Card gym in Los Angeles, it should be a simple transition for Khan to relocate at Ward’s home town of Oakland in northern California.
He is scheduled to being rebuilding his career on December 15. A home-coming fight at Manchester’s MEN Arena has been mooted for that date but the union with Hunter makes it more likely to take place in America.
Khan is presumably satisfied that Hunter’s commitments with Ward – who recently defeated world light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson – will not limit his own training time.
Orchestrator: Under Virgil Hunter, Andre Ward (above) has become one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet