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Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Stretch explains Khan separation

Venue: ExCeL Arena, London Date: Saturday, 6 December
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Five Live. Live on Sky Sports (PPV).
By Ben Dirs

Amir Khan
Khan is onto his third trainer since turning pro in 2005

Gary Stretch says boxing "politics" means he will not be in Amir Khan's corner for the lightweight's clash with Irishman Oisin Fagan on Saturday.

Ex-British light-middleweight champion Stretch has been helping Freddie Roach train Khan in Los Angeles.

And with Roach unable to be in London this week, Stretch had hoped to be Khan's chief second at the ExCeL Arena.

"It's nothing to do with me and Amir, but politics has got in the way," Stretch told BBC Sport.

"I read somewhere that I didn't have a licence and somewhere else that I didn't have a visa, but that's not right, Freddie got me a licence in Nevada.

"So I was all ready to go, but on the day of the flight I got a phone call and it was Freddie asking me not to go. I have to honour Freddie.

"I'm gutted. I really like the kid and have enjoyed the whole process with him, and the corner's going to be important [against Fagan].

"The thing with Amir is, he's a great learner and a great listener, but you have to stay on top of him.

I'd like to see him fight Ricky Hatton, and in a year's time maybe, that would be a great fight for England

Gary Stretch

"I've heard from people who've sparred with Fagan that he's a tough kid and if the fight goes long and Amir isn't disciplined he could get himself into trouble.

"But he's coming back, he's going to work with us after Christmas again and probably from there we'll be with him all the way."

In his fighting days, Stretch was also trained by Roach, who will be in Manny Pacquiao's corner for the Filipino superstar's bout with Oscar de la Hoya in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Stretch has been working with Khan in Roach's Wild Card Gym for the last month and believes Khan is capable of recovering from being knocked out in one round by Breidis Prescott in September.

"When Freddie signed to train Amir [Cuban Jorge Rubio was dismissed after the Prescott defeat], he wanted someone he could trust and so he called me out of the blue," said Stretch, who lost a world title challenge to Chris Eubank in 1991.

"I had seen Amir on television and wasn't overly impressed, but after being in the gym with him for a month I'm very impressed.

"Amir's biggest problem is that he's a little gung-ho, and his last fight showed you can't be like that at this level.

"You don't last long in the business if you're like that. He hopefully wants a career that lasts eight to 10 years and that won't happen with the style he has.

"We've been trying to get him to be a little bit more elusive, and he's been taking that on board. There's been big, big changes.

"People talk about him having a glass chin, but last week I saw him get hit by Manny Pacquiao with a really good shot and he didn't flinch.

"If you look at the great fighters, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, when they got hit they were usually sliding off the shot, they rarely got hit full on. Amir gets hit full-on because he just stands there.

"So we've been working on getting him slipping and sliding and feinting, trying to get him to work his way in with a little bit more caution. At world-class level he's got to be a lot smarter, a little more scientific.

"The knockout doesn't seem to have affected him, he's not gun-shy. He's also punching much harder - we've changed some of his balance and leverage on shots, and he's punching like a mule, maybe 50% harder than when he got here. He's looking fabulous."

Stretch added that the 21-year-old Khan from Bolton has been "more than holding his own" with four-weight world champion Pacquiao in sparring and that Khan could be ready to challenge Ricky Hatton in two fights' time.

Stretch, now an actor who starred in multi-award-winning film Dead Man's Shoes in 2004, added: "Amir and Manny have been tit-for-tat, very competitive. You get the feeling that if the fight went on too long Manny would have a bit too much for him.

"But over three, four rounds Amir holds his own and more than that some days. Manny can play around with a lot of the guys, but he can't play around with Amir."

"I'd like to see him fight Ricky Hatton, and in a year's time maybe, if they're both successful in their next two fights, that would be a great fight for England."

see also
Khan must learn lesson - Warren
07 Sep 08 |  Boxing
Khan knocked out in first round
06 Sep 08 |  Boxing

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Sky Sports Khan inspired by Pacman - 25 hrs ago
Sky Sports Judgement Night - How to book - 50 hrs ago
Sky Sports Roach - Oscar's too old - 52 hrs ago
The Sun Amir ready to bash Hatton - 28 Nov 2008
Telegraph Khan buoyant as he prepares for comeback - 27 Nov 2008


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