Former IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan, of Bolton, England, will return to the ring in December against unbeaten 140-pound prospect Carlos Molina, of Rosemead, Calif., on Showtime somewhere in the United States, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
“This morning, we finalized the deal that Amir’s fight against Carlos Molina is going to be on Showtime,” said Schaefer. “We’re finalizing the date. I should probably have that in the next 48 hours, but it will definitely be on Showtime.”
The site of the fight has yet to be determined.
Khan (26-3, 18 knockouts) announced on Saturday that he has left trainer Freddie Roach in favor of 2011 Trainer of The Year Virgil Hunter in the wake of his fourth-round knockout loss to Danny Garcia, whose triumph added Khan’s WBA belt as well as the division’s RING championship to the WBC crown he already owned.
“I’m really pleased that Virgil is to become my new trainer. Everyone in boxing knows about his skills and the success he has enjoyed over the last few years,” Khan announced on his website on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to the start of my training camp and working on some new things with him. With Virgil in my corner, I know that I can get back to the very top of the light-welterweight division.”
In hiring Hunter, Khan will be under the tutelage of the man who has guided the career of RING, WBA, WBC and Showtime Super Six World Super Middleweight Boxing Classic Champion Andre Ward, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist who was named being named Fighter of The Year for 2011.
“Amir is an extremely talented fighter, and I’m very happy to become his new trainer. I’ve seen a lot of him and he has many attributes such as his speed and heart,” said Hunter. “There are certain small aspects of his game that I’m intending to work on in order to help him fulfill his enormous potential.”
Khan, who turns 26 on Dec. 8, began working with Roach following his 54-second knockout loss to Breidis Prescott as a lightweight in September of 2008. From there, Khan won eight straight fights, four of them by knockout, and earned two major title belts.
That stretch also included knockouts of New Yorkers Zab Judah, the current IBF 140-pound beltholder at the time, and former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, as well as victories over Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera and Andreas Kotelnik.
But the loss to Garcia was the second in a row for Khan, whose winning streak under Roach ended with a controversial split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson last December.
Khan is looking to get back on the winning track against Molina, a 26-year-old boxer with a mark of 18-0-1 that includes seven knockouts.
“Molina is a good fighter, who has yet to taste defeat, so I know that he will be very dangerous. He’s a tricky fighter who possesses a lot of natural speed,” said Khan, a former Olympic silver medalist. “I always want to face hungry young fighters and in Molina I’m up against a guy who has ambitions of world title success.”
Schaefer also promotes Molina, who should not be confused with the junior middleweight contender of the same name.
“I’m excited about this fight,” said Schaefer. “Molina is an undefeated fighter, and this shows you that Amir does not shy away from facing undefeated fighters. An undefeated fighter always has that extra step, and feels that he’s invincible. So this is going to be another tough task for Amir. But that’s what Amir wants. Amir wants to challenge himself against quality opponents, and Carlos Molina is a quality opponent.
“We are also excited for Molina to have the opportunity to fight against a great fighter like Amir Khan. I’m excited for Amir, that he decided to go with such an opponent. Because if Amir wins the fight, then he will go right back into the mix for bigger fights. So this is going to be another exciting night on Showtime.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda, Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions, Jacob de Golish-Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com