• Light-welterweight

Hunter: Khan ready for world's elite

ESPN staff
April 23, 2013

Amir Khan is ready to step back into the ring with the light-welterweight elite, according to his trainer Virgil Hunter.

Khan makes his return to UK boxing when he faces Julio Diaz in Sheffield on April 27 and Hunter believes that, once he comes through the bout, there is no reason why the fighter will not be equipped to face the likes of IBF champion Lamont Peterson and WBA/WBC champion Danny Garcia.

"I would believe it would be the next fight after this one [against Diaz]," Hunter told Buncey's Boxing Podcast, when asked when his next title fight might come. "I believe he's ready for that.

"I don't see any reason to hold him back from these guys any more after this fight. I don't see any reason to it at all."

Khan followed consecutive defeats to Peterson and Garcia with victory over Carlos Molina in December 2012. And while the Bolton-born fighter has admitted his losses have made him stronger, Hunter firmly believes that the 26-year-old has improved his tactical approach.

"It was just a matter of just not changing him in terms of his zest and his willingness and bravely encouraging fighting but learning to rein where to fight," Hunter said. "Don't fight in certain areas, don't fight here, when to fight, when to turn it up, when to turn it down.

"So it was a matter of adjusting his pace, so not killing his spirit and I think that's what we're accomplishing so far.

"He is intelligent, he didn't come to me not having a brain and an IQ, he just had a spirit for fighting and I didn't want to kill that spirit.

"That would've been foolish to kill that fighting spirit I just wanted to show him another way to go about it and it's just a matter of knowing when and when not to, where and where not to.

"I think he's embracing some of the things that he needs to embrace to continue and further his career and he's making good sound decisions so that's what you need and that's what we're asking for and he's responding. So I think we'll see that next week."

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