THERE is something refreshing and unusual about Virgil Hunter’s honesty, particularly when it comes to speaking publicly about Amir Khan.
Never one to hold back, Hunter is the man Khan needs at this stage of his career – an admission Khan made to Boxing News in April – and has long been torn between respecting his charge’s fantastic achievements and feeling he should be getting more out of his skillset.
Now, with a defeat to Terence Crawford still fresh in the memory, Hunter expects Khan to return to the ring but says a change in his approach is require if he’s to fulfil his undoubted potential.
“I would like to see him commit to many training camps in between fights and to work on his weaknesses before he makes that final decision to really see if his skills are gone, or if he is just letting them lay in a pile and deteriorate slowly,” Hunter told BBC Sport.
“He never has practice in between fights. He trains hard for 10 weeks but it’s not enough.”
There’s certainly a sense Khan’s career is winding down and that his mind is focused more on big-money fights than anything else right now. He told BN he is still enjoying the sport – more now than ever before, in fact – but, at 32, one wonders how much Khan has left.
In a 38-fight pro career spanning 14 years, he is 33-5 and has won two world titles as a super-lightweight. Now a welterweight, Khan’s next career move, be it opponent or training regime, is probably crucial. If in any doubt, Virgil Hunter will be right there to remind him.
There was once a time when Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte sharing a ring again seemed like the most obvious and logical thing in the world.
It seemed natural because Joshua was the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion, still winning, and Whyte, the man who came off second best when the pair met in 2015, had rebounded with some impressive victories to emerge as one of the best contenders in the heavyweight division.
It seemed nailed-on, too. There were rumours of the rematch taking place at Wembley Stadium, somewhere around April time, and it made sense in a way most other heavyweight title fights don’t. Whyte had earned his second chance and Joshua needed a good domestic foe not named Tyson Fury to get his juices flowing.
But, of course, it never happened in April, nor does it look likely to happen in 2019. Instead, Joshua decided to chase the American dollar, booking fights with first Jarrell Miller and then Andy Ruiz Jnr, and Whyte was left chasing his tail for a bit before securing a fight against fellow contender Oscar Rivas.
“I’m not looking at Dillian anymore,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “I’m looking at Wilder because he’s got the belt.
“Ruiz Jr? Provided I get past him, Wilder, that’s my main objective. Simple as that.”
According to Joshua, Whyte had his chance but didn’t like the numbers. It is his fault the fight hasn’t happened.
“Dillian Whyte had his opportunity to fight me April 13,” he said. “He felt it was a low-ball offer and he wants to build his value and compete against Rivas.
“It’s a tough fight, a very tough fight. But providing Dillian comes through, it (accelerates) him onto the next stage of where he’s trying to get to and that’s becoming heavyweight champion of the world.”
I wouldn’t write it off just yet.
Because of the all-British angle, there is an ungodly amount of money to be made in a Joshua vs. Whyte grudge fight at Wembley Stadium, or some other UK stadium, and though both are different characters with different views, their love of money is one thing they undoubtedly have in common.
Finally, it appears Joe Joyce, Britain’s rampaging heavyweight contender, has a good fight scheduled for July 13 at London’s O2 Arena.
If Bryant Jennings’ social media activity is to be believed, the American will be the man opposing Joyce in July in what would unquestionably mark a step up in competition for the 2016 Olympic silver medallist.
It’s happening! pic.twitter.com/5QEvqC6JGG
— U.K KILLER (@BYJennings) May 23, 2019
The 34-year-old Philadelphia native has lost just three times in a 27-fight professional career and remains one of the better heavyweights on the periphery. He lost a world heavyweight title fight against Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, but managed to go the distance, and has been stopped only by Luis Ortiz and, more recently, Oscar Rivas, a couple of top contenders.
In terms of wins, his best ones have come against Artur Szpilka (TKO 10), Mike Perez (decision), Siarhei Liakhovich (RTD 9) and Alexander Dimitrenko (TKO 9).
Though he lost his last fight, Jennings was competitive against Rivas (who boxes Dillian Whyte in a Sky Sports Box Office headline fight in July) and the scorecards were split before being rendered unnecessary by the Colombian’s final round rally.
For Joyce, someone just nine fights deep into their career, the choice of Jennings would be an inspired one at this stage.