24 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan has refuted claims he is overlooking the challenge of Paul McCloskey and stressed he is fully focused on ruining Irelands third 2011 world title attempt.
Derry man, McCloskey is the latest pretender to King Khans thrown, as the pair are scheduled to meet in the MEN Arena on April 16, but suggestions the Bolton native is looking past the European champion are rife. The Freddie Roach trained fighter, has been accused of talking more about a massive unification fight with Timothy Bradley than latest opponent McCloskey, as the build up to next months world title clash continues.
Indeed, boxings latest mega star has already agreed to face WBC and WBO champ, Bradley in the summer, and has even mentioned Floyd Mayweather as a potential future opponent. However, speaking exclusively to the Irish Mirror from his training camp in the Philippines, Khan stressed he is not taking the Dungiven stylist lightly. The WBA strap holder claims he is working as hard as ever and pointed out, that in Manny Pacquiao, the pound for pound champion of the world, he has the perfect sparring partner for the challenge southpaw McCloskey brings.
I am definitely not overlooking or underestimating McCloskey because in this sport you can only look at your next opponent and your next challenge. In the ring anything can happen so I have to be fully focused on this fight and give my opponent the respect that he deserves, Khan explained.
I am very confident. Im the champion and have experience of these types of nights so I am fully confident going into the bout. Training is going really well. I was out in LA initially but now I have moved my camp over here to the Philippines to be with Freddie whilst he trains Manny, who preparing for his fight against Shane Mosley. I will most probably be sparring with Manny for this fight and he will be a great help because like McCloskey he is a southpaw. Who better to help you than the world best pound-for-pound fighter?
McCloskeys trainer John Breen has intimated that Khans temples are his Achilles heel and has re raised questions about the champions punch resistance. However, Khan, who claims he wont fluff his lines as he sticks the strict fight script written by Roach, believes he has disproved the theories he is chinny and plans to do his talking in the ring.
I’m not worried what other people say. It is just about me getting in the ring and doing the business. I have the weapons and tools to beat anyone in this division. On the night it’s just going to be me and him and come April 16 I am confident I will be victorious. Freddie has put together a game plan and it’s just about me sticking to the script, Khan added before claiming to have the support of some Irish fight fans.
It will be nice to see a strong Irish contingent over at the fight. I myself have a big Irish following, and it can only make the atmosphere inside the arena better. These big world title nights are the types of atmospheres you want to fight in, were there is a real buzz in the air and I’m sure with the Irish support and with my support thats just what you’re going to get.