10 February 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Amir Khan will afford Paul McCloskey world champion status throughout the build up to the pairs April 16 mouth watering WBA light welterweight title clash.
The Wild Card puncher stressed he will train for his latest title defence as if he was the hungry challenger determined to tear the belt away from the Derry native. Khan also revealed trainer Freddie Roach has already begun preparing a Paul McCloskey dossier as well as game plan that includes a four week stint in the Philippines sparring with the best boxer in the world, Manny Pacquiao. And the former Olympic silver medallist, who claims his fight with the EBU champ is too close to call, believes his preparations will ensure the belt he proudly displayed in the Ulster Muesem yesterday will not be returning to Ireland anytime soon.
Khan, who enters this bout on the back of The Fight of the Year winner against Marcus Maidana, believes he can win the fight in his training camp before a punch is thrown.
I will train hard for this fight. I will train like I am the challenger. Even though I am a world champion and have defended my belt three times. I will go into the gym knowing someone is trying to take my title off me. The pressure is always on me. I have tasted defeat before and I am not going through that again. I will be totally focused, the Golden Boy promoted fighter explained.
I am against an undefeated fighter, who is a very awkward and it is going to be a good fight. Some people have me odds on to win, but I know Paul is a tough opponent and it is just about a 50 50 fight in my opinion. Freddie Roach was happy for me to take the fight, but he wants me to go to the Philippines to spar Manny Pacquiao, who is a southpaw like Paul. I know I will have to be ready and smart to beat Paul, he is undefeated and European Champion. I will carry out Freddies instructions and win. I can ensure there is not going to be an upset on April 16.