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News – Khan Training for Kotelnik Bout

Amir Khan Andriy KotelnikBy Sean McDaniel: British lightweight contender Amir Khan (20-1, 15 KOs) has started his six-week training camp in preparation for his June 27th bout against World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Andriy Kotelnik at the O2 Arena, in Greenwich, London. Khan, 22, will be training with Freddie Roach at his Wild Card gym, in Los Angeles, California.

Khan is reportedly not looking forward to the tough training – runs, sparring and other various types of grueling exercise – which he’ll have to endure while training with the tough trainer Roach in preparation for Kotelnik.

Khan, who is coming off a 5th round technical decision victory over Marco Antonio Barrera on March 14th, is hoping to get a knockout over Kotelnik on the 27th of June, and is excited about the boosted spirits of the other members of the Wild Card gym after Pacquiao, a fellow fighter trained by Roach, knocked Ricky Hatton out last week. Khan is friends with Hatton, but has been caught up in the excitement just the same.

However, Khan has his work cut out for him in his fight with Kotelnik, as Khan will be moving up in weight to face Kotelnik, a former Silver Medal Olympian for Ukraine and the WBA light welterweight champion since March 2008. Khan chose to move up in weight from the lightweight division rather than weight around for a fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, who is busy at this time training for his July bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Had Khan stayed at lightweight, though, he would have likely had to fight some tough fighters like Ali Funeka or Edwin Valero, two fighters with good power and who might have the edge in ability and chin over the young 22-year-old Khan. The chin is Amir’s biggest problem, since Khan was knocked out in the 1st round by Colombian Breidis Prescott last year in September 2008.

Although some of Khan’s biggest fans have come rushing to his rescues saying that the knockout loss to Prescott was just a fluke thing, history suggests that it wasn’t. Khan has been knocked out in other fights against less than World class opponents, and was shaken in his win over and old Antonio Marco Barrera in their March bout.

This is why that Khan has taken on Roach as his trainer in hopes of learning some defensive skills needed to compete against World class athletes. Khan did do a decent job of not getting hit all that often by Barrera.

However, the fight wasn’t exactly fair, because Barrera received a huge cut on his forehead in the 1st round, and would have problems with his vision the rest of the way until the bout was eventually stopped in the 5th by the ringside doctor due to the cut worsening.

Roach is a top notch trainer, one of the best in boxing. But it’s unknown whether even Roach has the ability to fix Khan’s problems with taking hard shots. The good news is that Roach and Khan won’t be facing a huge puncher on June 27th in Kotelnik.

But should Khan win the fight, he’ll have a lot of murderous punchers in the light welterweight division breathing down his neck. Unless Roach can work miracles, Khan may only hold onto the WBA light welterweight title for a short period of time if he can get by Kotelnik.

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