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Amir Khan addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, December 27, 2011. —APP

ISLAMABAD: International boxing sensation Amir Khan on Tuesday asserted that brilliant coaching of Freddy Roach played a key role in his success.

British national of Pakistani origin, Amir in a press conference at the Pakistan Sports Complex said: “Freddy is my coach and played instrumental role in my win.”

Amir has recently lost his WBA and IBF light-welterweight titles to Lamont Peterson of the US. He has come a long way since his silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

After going pro in 2005, he fought in immature bouts for several years against average boxers. Until 2008, there was no increase in the level of competition specifically after the training of Freddy.

It was coach Freddy who told Amir that he was competing in a wrong weight-category and later he won his bout against Columbia’s Breidis Prescot.

Asked since Pakistani boxers were without professional coaches, which was affecting their performance, Amir, 25, said: “Pakistan should hire coaches from Cuba and other countries.

“You [boxers] have to work hard and in a span of three four years Pakistan may also have a professional boxer.”

Pakistan sports have coaches but the coaching strength is based on old methodology which has hampered better results in almost every sport since athletes are not trained on modern scientific lines.

He said that focus should be on the Olympic Games since London Olympics are set for the next year.

“From Olympic Games and onwards with a better planning Pakistan can win international titles,” said Amir, who was surrounded by a good number of fans in the press conference room of the Liaquat Gymnasium.

He appreciated the efforts made by the Pakistan Boxing Federation, saying that countries were appearing in matches in Pakistan which is a good sign for the development of sports.

Amir added that he had excellent gym facilities in England and offered it to Pakistani pugilists for unleashing best boxers for the London Olympics.

In a lighter mood when asked whether he [Amir] was in a relationship with any girl, he responded with a smile saying: “I am already taken … engaged with a New Yorker girl of Pakistani origin.”

Amir was given special security cover while sleuths could be seen giving him a foolproof cover and escorted him to his vehicle to the press conference venue.

Meanwhile, in the second Benazir Bhutto International Boxing Championship, Mohammad Waseem won his 52kg flyweight semi-final 19-12 against India’s Madan Lal.

Results (semi-finals): Men’s light flyweight (46-49kg): Ariubold Ganselem (Mongolia) bt A.M. Amila Nuwan (Sri Lanka) 16-9; Peter Mungai (Kenya) bt Mohammad Nisar (Pakistan) 18-8. Men’s flyweight (52kg): Mohammad Waseem (Pakistan) bt Madan Lal (India) 19-12; Benson Gicharu (Kenya) bt Latipov Jasurbek (Uzbekistan) got walkover. Men’s bantamweight (56kg): Wassam Salamana (Syria) bt Ghulam Mustafa (Pakistan) 13-8; Shayimov Orzubek (Uzbekistan) bt Naimatullah Khan (Pakistan) 22-14. Men’s lightweight (60kg): Ayrin Ismetov (Bulgaria) bt Mohamad Dumairieh (Syria) 13-10; Gaibnazrov Fazliddin (Uzbekistan) bt Joegin Ladon (Philippine) 23-7. Men’s light welterweight (64kg): Rahmanov Sanjarbek (Uzbekistan) bt Rantna Bahadur (Nepal) 4-1 (technical knockout); Ambomo Serge (Cameron) Chinzorig Baatarsukh (Mangolia) 26-18. Men’s welterweight (69kg): Normtov (Uzbekistan) bt Sahrouz Toradideh (Iran) 14-4; Mamadajnaov Ahmad (Uzbekistan) bt Rayton Okwiri (Kenya) 19-17. Men’s middleweight (75kg): Abdullayev Shuhrat (Uzbekistan) bt Shinebayar Nardiandakh (Mongolia) 23-10; Atoev Abbos (Uzbekistan) bt Jamal Nasir (Pakistan) 21-3. Men’s light heavyweight (81kg): Rasulov Elshod (Uzbekistan) bt Nisar Hussain (Pakistan) 14-2; Manaf Asaad (Syria) bt Majid Hajabbasi (Iran) 22-17. Men’s light heavyweight (91kg): Tulaganov Rustam (Uzbekistan) bt Yasir Jawaid (Pakistan) 30-8; Mohammad Ghossoun(Syria) bt Nadir Khan (Pakistan) 39-5. Men’s super heavyweight (+91kg): Ali Salmani Koyakhi (Iran) bt Charles Okoth (Kenya) 21-16; Soumar Ghossoun (Syria) bt Ergashev Izzatullah (Uzbekistan) 18-14.