MANILA, Philippines – Former world champion Amir “King” Khan of Britain has hired 2011 Trainer of the Year Virgil Hunter as his new coach, replacing Hall-of-Famer Freddie Roach, according to a report from ESPN.
“I’m really pleased that Virigl Hunter is to become my new trainer,” Khan, who has a record of 26 wins and three losses, said in the ESPN report. “Everyone in boxing knows about his skills and the success he has enjoyed over the last few years.”
“I’m looking forward to the start of my training camp and working on some new things with him. With Virgil in my corner, I know that I can get back to the very top of the light welterweight division,” the boxer added.
Khan has lost two consecutive bouts -- the first a disputed points loss to Lamont Peterson in December and then a fourth-round knockout to Danny Garcia last July.
The two straight losses led Khan to part ways with Roach, his trainer for the past four years.
“Amir is an extremely talented fighter and I’m very happy to be his new trainer,” Hunter said. “I’ve seen him a lot and he has many attributes such as his speed and his heart.”
“There are certain small aspects of his game that I’m intending to work on in order to help him fulfill his enormous potential,” he added.
Khan is set to return to the ring against Carlos Molina, with a record of 18 wins and one draw, on a yet to be specified date.
“Molina is a good fighter who has yet to taste defeat, so I know that he will be very dangerous. He’s a tricky fighter who possess a lot of natural speed,” Khan said.
Khan and Roach had an amicable split, though the five-time Trainer of the Year did fire a parting shot at the boxer recently.
Roach expressed his doubts that a new trainer can change Khan’s tendencies as a fighter, and warned the former world champion to stay away from hard-hitting punchers.
Roach also pointed out that while Khan split with him because he did not want to take a backseat to Filipino ring icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Khan will also have to take a backseat to Hunter’s top fighter, Andre Ward.
“Virgil Hunter has a fighter that’s very dominant right now, and Amir’s gonna have to take a backseat to him,” Roach said.
But Roach also insisted that he has “no hard feelings” against Khan, and said that he wishes the British fighter all the best.