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Sport confidential: Amir Khan

Amir Khan.jpg
Amir.jpg

The former four-time world champion on sparring with pacquiao, beating injury and his mum’s cooking

The boxing training camp: a bit like squeezing into your decade-old Speedos before a holiday in Majorca. Except not at all like that, given your pay-off involves sangria and chorizo, whereas for Amir Khan it’s vomit-inducing workouts, swerving chocolate and not ending up unconscious when he squares up to Julio Diaz on 27 April. But ShortList finds that he’s looking forward to the kebabs.

How do you pick your sparring partner?

It depends on your opponent. You want someone similar to his style.

Do you try to spar with someone good, but not too good?

Sometimes my sparring partners are better than my opponent. It’s good because if you can react to what they’re going to throw and avoid getting hit, when you go in the ring it’s going to be much easier. When I used to train with Manny Pacquiao, I’d spar with him but then I’d fight boxers and feel like I could see everything coming.

Do you go all out in sparring sessions?

It’s full-on. The days of taking it easy are gone. Sparring is one place we can learn a lot in boxing. If we spar hard, then the fight won’t be a shock.

How strict is your pre-fight diet?

It’s quite strict. It’s a lot of organic stuff, waking in the morning and having juices, eating vegetables, cutting the fried food and no chocolate, fizzy pop or anything. It’s tough, especially when you’re in camp because you get a sweet tooth, but you cut all that out for good food.

What does your post-fight binge consist of?

Straight after a fight it’ll usually be my mum’s cooking. Like a chicken masala or a lamb dish, a roast chicken, sometimes kebabs. We mix it up.

How tough is it to get your weight right?

On the week of the fight you cut down what you eat and your calories drop by a quarter, especially a few days each side of the weigh-in. You take in a lot less food but you’re still doing the same amount of training, so that is tough.

What’s the worst injury you have suffered?

I hurt my hand when I was fighting once, I think it was fight number two. It’s never been quite the same since.

With boxers fighting just two or three times a year, is the wait between bouts agonising?

Nah, it’s perfect. Because we’re having longer and harder training camps, it’s good for the body to have a rest.

But after a loss you’re dying to get back in the ring, right?

Yeah definitely, but it’s just part of life. You have to regroup and go back to the drawing board, and that’s what we’ve done this time.

How do you spend your gym time?

Usually we start off doing warm-ups or maybe a skip. Then I start shadow boxing, get the muscles warm. I do the bags, mitt and pad work. And sometimes we might spar and finish up doing neck, shoulder and upper-body exercises, then stretches and we’re done.

What’s on your training iPod?

A lot of R&B, but I’ve just started to stick on the radio. Sometimes a couple of the lads might bring some CDs, maybe rap, R&B or dance music. I prefer dance music because it’s quick, so it gets you moving a little bit.

Amir’s killer tip

Train hard. It sounds simple, but if you don’t train hard you aren’t dedicated and you’re not disciplined, then there’s no point going to the gym, you might as well call it a day and not even put the gloves on.

Amir Khan is powered by Maximuscle; maximuscle.co.uk; Amir fights Julio Diaz on Saturday 27th April at the MotorPoint Arena in Sheffield. Tickets for the fight can be purchased from www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk or by calling 0114 256 5656

(Image: Rex Features)

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