AMIR KHAN’s manager, Asif Vali, has dismissed suggestions that the WBA champion is under-estimating the threat of Paul McCloskey.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The build-up to the light-welterweight showdown has been overshadowed by claims that Khan has already set-up a unification bout against WBC and WBO title-holder Tim Bradley on July 23rd next.
However, Vali insists discussions about unifying the division have not taken place and claims Khan is focused completely on the fourth defence of his world title against McCloskey in two weeks time.
“We’ve not even thought about it or discussed it in any shape or form with anybody,” claimed Vali. “We’re not looking past the 16th of April and Paul McCloskey.”
Khan (24-1-0), who is six years McCloskey’s junior, is planning to show the world he is the best in the light-welterweight division with a dazzling display in Manchester and Vali claims the Bolton man is in excellent shape after his training camp in the Philippines with ‘Pound for Pound King,’ Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach.
Top Class Preparations
“Amir’s preparations for the fight are going very well,” continued Vali. “He’s been in the Philippines for the last three weeks with Freddie Roach and they’ve brought in sparring partners from all over the world so he’s strong, he’s fit and he’s raring to go. He’s having a very good camp out there.
“He’s due back in England at the end of the week so he’ll be acclimatised and ready to go by the time of the fight. Our agreement with Freddie Roach is that Manny Pacquiao is his number one boxer and Amir Khan is number two and he will continue to be so for quite some time. And if they decide the camp is in the Philippines then we will go to the Philippines.
“It’s a lot calmer with high altitude training up in Baguio City and then going down to Manilla so it’s different for Amir and he’s really, really enjoying it.
“Freddie’s going to come across with Amir and finish his training camp off in the UK and then he flies off straight afterwards to rejoin Manny Pacquiao so, from a trainer’s point of view, it’s no different from what has occurred in the past,” concluded Vali.