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AMIR KHAN OUT TO PROVE HIS SPEED IS THE KEY

By Stuart Mahoney | July 18, 2009
AMIR KHAN OUT TO PROVE HIS SPEED IS THE KEY

Amir Khan could complete a remarkable career turn-around if he defeats Andreas Kotelnik for the WBA light welterweight title this Saturday at the MEN Arena in Manchester, less than a year after being knocked out in under a minute by lightweight Breidis Prescott at the same venue.

Since that devastating 54 seconds last September, Khan, with the aid of new trainer Freddie Roach and some canny matchmaking from promoter Frank Warren, has gone from zero to almost hero over the course of just two fights; a relatively safe comeback against Irishman Oisin Fagin, and the big TKO victory over Marco Antonio Barrera in March this year.

What Barrera lacked in threat at 135 pounds, he made up for in name and the win has propelled Khan right back into the big time. A convincing victory over Kotelnik would give a huge boost to Khan's reputation and see his potential earnings sky-rocket as he enters the radar of big guns Ricky Hatton and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Kotelnik, however, is no pushover and a Khan win is far from a certainty. This will be only Khan's second visit to light welterweight (the first resulted in him suffering his first pro knockdown and then making a swift return to lightweight), while Kotelnik is a seasoned 140lb'er and making the third defence of the title he won from Welsh hotshot Gavin Rees. He's been in with better company also, Rees, Junior Witter, one-time Cotto victim Mohamad Abdulaev and last time out a win over Marcos Maidana, who recently knocked out Golden Boy's shining star Victor Ortiz.

Trainer Freddie Roach though is confident they have the plan to beat the Ukranian. "He [Khan] has to use his foot speed and his lateral movement to win this fight. Kotelnik is the type of a fighter that if you throw combinations at him and stand there, he'll throw back. He's a moving counter-puncher, he's got that classic defence and blocks well and you wear yourself out on him."

Khan himself has his own thoughts on the right tactics and has high hopes for the outcome.

"Speed is the key and the power is going to be important too, keeping him away. He's going to be looking for me. I have to throw the right shots at the right time.

"I made one mistake, but I've proved everyone wrong by beating Barrera and now fighting for a world title. And hopefully when I wake up on Sunday morning, I'll be a world champion.

In support, Saturday's bill also has former amateur stars and current hot prospects James DeGale, Billy Joe Saunders and Frankie Gavin making their third professional outings.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: FightHype would like to welcome Stuart Mahoney to the team.]

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