Khan Vs Salita: Dec 6
Khan with Roach at a press conference. Image by Chamber of Fear
Wild card boxing club in Vine Street Hollywood is a large but calculated construction of square cubes. The moment you move through the metal screen door you sense a professional and serious wave of air which hits your face telling you this place means business.
The room smells of a distinct odors of sweat and freshly rolled hand tape.
The atmosphere inside is charged with adrenaline.The room situated on the right hand side has two boxing rings,the walls are lavished with the posters of the previous legends boxing their opponents out.
The posters end just where the square shaped ring starts and in the corner stands Freddie Roach himself shouting instructions at his youngest world champion Amir Khan,preparing him for his next and most important fight.
Amir Khan at 22 shows talent and promise of a great boxer in the making,The British born Pakistani origin boxer turned professional in 2005 after winning the silver medal at Athens Olympics. The Boston born boxer speaks fluent Urdu and Punjabi,loves the desi food and has visited his ancestral city Rawalpindi on numerous occasions. The son of a scrap metal merchant,khan,was taken to the local boxing academy by his father at the age of 8 after his father recieved complaints from the school teachers about the boy being un-necessarily aggressive. Khans father turned his weakness into a career and by the time khan was 20,the coaches saw an emerging talent from his gloves and adviced khan to pursue boxing professionally.The Pakistani Community in Britain extensively supports Khan.who is also the first cousin of Cricketer Sajid Mahmood.
In in his 22 match pro-career Khan has lost only one game,the match in which he was knocked out unexpectedly in 54 secs by the Bredis Prescott,after which he sacked his cuban coach Jorge Rubio who succeeded khans previous coach Harrison.Khan`s mother who was watching the match closely was so troubled by watching her son being punched like a rag doll was immediately taken for medical assistance during the middle of the match. Critics questioned Khans professional career and fans were disheartened. Khan`s manager then hired the All time great Freddie Roach who also coaches Manny Pacquiao (called the greatest pound for pound boxer in recent times).
Khan,already a teen sensation in britain is often criticised for his defensive vulnerability and called “Glass Chin” or “China Chin” but Freddie Roach is not worried about it. “i have worked with fighters who havent had the greatest chins in the world,but we can deffinitely work on that” says Roach.
The Hollywood based trainer has been using various techniques derived from martial arts to “try and deaden, or toughen, those nerves on the tip of [Khan’s] jaw.” The method involves applying pressure to Khan’s mandible using an assortment of exercises.
Roach also insists that Khan is faster than Pacquio and has a greater punching speed.
“on the brighter side Amir is a great athlete – his ability to pick up and learn quickly is what really sets him apart,He’s also the only person who can keep up with Pacquiao running. His speed is his asset, he has faster handspeed than Manny” Roach made khan spar with Pacquiao and undefeated juniour welterweight dean bryne increasing,the result of these tough and intense long hour practice sessions in the hollywood club not only transformed khans defense but it also handed him a new weapon which Roach discovered. “He’s got a beautiful jab; a better jab than [Oscar] De La Hoya,” claims Roach. “Jabs win world titles.”
“Khan’s jab is amazing. The sparring between us has been great,” adds Byrne, a highly-touted prospect from Ireland with a 9-0 (3) résumé. Khan bounced back in his next two games and silenced his opponents.
The hardwork of Roach was witnessed in the Khan-kotelnik fight at MEN ARENA,where Khan
looked more strong and composed as opposed to the wild and reckless customer who was knocked out in 54 seconds against Prescot.Khan won the competition by unanimous decision and was awarded world welter-weight title championship after which he became britains 3rd youngest boxing champion.
Khan`s next fight is on 6th December at Metro Radio Arena Newcastle where he will be facing Dimitry Salita
The fight that will be the title decider for both of them is of great importance,not only for the boxers but it is also creating sensation among the world media as it is the first time in the history of world boxing that a muslim and jew will face each other in the ring. Khans opponent Dimitri Salita who is 27 has 31 un-beaten matches to his credit,out of which 16 are knockout wins,Salita is a conservative Jew and only fights after sundown and follows jewish dietry laws.
Salita is more than confident about the upcoming encounter “Amir Khan is just holding on to my championship right now.” states Salita.
But Amir is not troubled by the fact that the man he`ll be facing has not only 10 matches extra under his belt but is also half a decade older in age. Khans last fight has boosted his confidence and both him and Roach think that Khan who possess a blistering punching speed and a great attacking mind combined with amazing hand-eye contact is going to get through on 6th December where he will be defending his title for the first time.
Despite the critisicm, the pandits and the boxing gurus have unceremoniously agreed that that Amir Khan if provided the right weapons to armour his arsenal would be the next big thing.Some of the ex-boxing greats have compared Khan vis-a-vis to the all time british great Naseem Hamid.
Salita will be a test of nerves and skills for British Pakistani boxer,the stakes are high and the odds are in favour of Khan.Only time will tell us weather Amir retains his World Championship crown and continues his route to super-stardom.