Roach: Khan on the right track

Trainer Freddie Roach believes Amir Khan has taken a big step towards boxing’s big time following his acclaimed American debut at Madison Square Garden.

Trainer Freddie Roach believes Amir Khan has taken a big step towards boxing’s big time following his acclaimed American debut at Madison Square Garden.

Khan made an impressive defence of his WBA light-welterweight title on Saturday night when he stopped former world champion Paulie Malignaggi in the 11th round.

It was a dominant performance from the 23-year-old Bolton fighter, his fifth in partnership with Roach.

It was only the second time that Malignaggi had been stopped – the first was against Ricky Hatton in November 2008 – and Khan made the American look very ordinary indeed.

“I feel he’s definitely moved on,” Roach said of Khan, who he started working with following the boxer’s first and only professional defeat to date in 2008.

“I think he pitched a shutout right to the end, until the stoppage. I don’t think Paulie won any rounds.

“Malignaggi’s been stopped once before in his life and he’s a tough, tough guy with a good chin.

“I would have liked to see Amir go to the body a bit more but Paulie’s a little bit difficult to go to the body with.

“He was very game and took some big shots but Amir stuck with the jab and it worked for him.”

Roach, who also trains welterweight legend Manny Pacquiao, believes the performance against Malignaggi was an ideal calling card to give to the American boxing public, in New York and on national television.

“I think Amir was great for HBO, great for an American audience and it was great for him as a man,” he added.

“It was a long, tough fight and the experience will guide him to bigger and better things. You need fights like this.”

Khan believes he has made new fans in America and is confident of a long and successful career Stateside as he continues to work with Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.

“I hope they love my style and I want to fill stadiums and arenas like I did in the UK,” Khan said.

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