VIRGIL HUNTER, who trains both Amir Khan and Andre Ward, wants to see both his charges in big fights next year.
Hunter – who recently returned from an Olympic testing event in Brazil with Team USA’s boxing squad – has a firm say in who his fighter’s meet in the ring.
While Khan has missed out on a fight with Floyd Mayweather and, most likely, one with Manny Pacquiao, most want him to face domestic rival and IBF world champion Kell Brook, and Hunter feels the same.
“I’m going to see him on the first of January. I haven’t picked an opponent for him yet but we’re hoping to get him in there by late March against somebody that’ll be a threat,” he told Boxing News.
“I’d like to see him fight Brook at some point. It’s a touchy situation, whatever money they can get now, they might get more later. Or they might get more money now than they would down the line. So it’s difficult. That decision can be made some time after April.”
Khan has not fought since outpointing Chris Algieri in May, having sidelined himself while under the belief he was one of the front-runners to face either Mayweather or Pacquiao.
Mayweather has of course retired while Manny intends to close out his career in April, with signs pointing towards a third fight with Timothy Bradley, rather than a meeting with Khan, a former gymmate.
Hunter however insists he is not upset with Khan’s lack of action but does feel the 29-year-old is not reaching his full potential.
“Khan’s been with Tony Brady doing strength and conditioning for the past few months so he’ll be in OK shape when he gets back to the gym. He just needs to get going again,” he said.
“It’s not frustrating for me that he’s been inactive. All I do is simply tell the truth, I did tell him that out of all the fighters I’ve ever had he’s the one I smash my head over because he’s not maxing out his ability. But we’ll see how it goes.”
Meanwhile Ward is set to storm the light-heavyweight division next year after cleaning up at super-middleweight, with a view to facing IBF, WBA & WBO world champion Sergey Kovalev before the end of 2016.
“Andre should be out in March, he’ll fight three times next year. We tried to get the Golovkin fight so now we’re moving up [to light-heavyweight]. He’s ready to move up,” he mused.
“We’ll most likely fight Kovalev at the end of the year in the third fight, that’s the plan, and we’ll see how that goes.”