Amir Khan exclusive
Amir Khan returns to the ring on Saturday 15 December against Carlos Molina. Following defeats in his last two races, Khan is well aware of the need to win. Ahead of the bout, he spoke to Orange about his chances, his plans to be the world's greatest boxer and life in San Francisco.
It's been a tough year with two defeats going into this fight. Has the confidence taking a knock?
I actually feel very confident going into this fight. I'm the same fighter I ever was but I made some mistakes, particularly the one in the last fight against Danny Garcia and you pay for that. I'm no worse a fighter than I was in the last 12 months and the confidence is still high as I can explain that loss and have worked to make sure that's not repeated.
So in what way are you different?
A lot's changed as I've since switched trainers and am now working with Virgil Hunter, who's one of the very best trainers in the world. He's got a great pedigree having worked with guys like Andre Ward. So the approach has been very different.
How does he compare with your former trainer Freddie Roach?
Freddie's great and it was difficult to stop working with him but it's been the right call as obviously much of his attention was focused on Manny Pacquiao, which is understandable. Virgil's taken a different look at me. He's gone through all the fights, looked at the mistakes I've made and analysed how not to make them again. He's also worked a lot on my defence which I realise is an area that needed work. Plus, it's meant I've moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It's a lot quieter here, which suits me as there's no distractions at all.
Was the switch the boost you needed?
Yeah, definitely. I feel a bit more of a buzz going into training every day. You get that from a change of trainer but I feel I've progressed and that I can prove myself against Molina.
How do you rate your chances?
I'd expect to win, which is how I approach every fight. He's a good fighter, he's not lost in his professional career and he's on his home turf. So, that makes him a tough prospect plus he's a quick fighter. But I think I'll bring power that he's not seen from opponents before. I'm not saying I'm going to knock him out. There's no rush, it's just about sticking to mine and Virgil's game plan.
After the Garcia loss and the previous defeat to Lamont Peterson, it's a bit of a must-win fight for you isn't it?
Yeah, very much so. I know I've had some critics and that I've got to win, and win well.
Will you be nervous going into the ring?
I'm always nervous but I think every fighter is and it's about how you harness those nerves and what you do with them. I know how to deal with the nerves and, once you're in the ring, they immediately go as you're focused on doing your job against the opponent in front of you.
Will your approach change?
Yeah, definitely. In the past, I went into fights too quickly, a bit wham, bam, getting the job done. But now I box a bit smarter and I'm aiming to not rush but use my brain a bit more and avoid being caught out as I have in the past.
How's the build-up been?
It's gone perfectly. I've very much been locked away and it's just been training and, within that, lots of rest and eating. I've not done much - it's been the purest training camp. I get Sunday off so I've tended to go out on a Saturday night with my team for dinner but that's about it. It's exactly what I needed.
Do you get recognised out in San Francisco then?
People recognise who I am when I'm out at a restaurant or whatever. But most of the time I spend indoors as I'm either training or resting. So, there's not a lot of people to bump into.
Have your goals changed going into this fight off the back of the two defeats?
No, not at all. I still want to be the world's best pound-for-pound fighter and that's still the goal. I know there's a lot of work to do but Virgil's confident in me. After this fight, there will hopefully be options. A rematch against Garcia would be good, particularly as I feel it's a fight I should have won first time around. Then I'd like to go up to welterweight where there's plenty of fight options.
Khan v Molina is live on Sky Sports 1HD and on mobile and tablet devices via Sky Go from 2am on Saturday 15 December