Freddie Roach on Irish chances

25 February 2011 – Jonny Stapleton

Freddie Roach is devising the perfect plan to ensure Paul McCloskey does not dethrone WBA light welterweight world champion Amir King Khan in Manchester on April 19.

The greatest boxing trainer in the world, who is deemed the mastermind behind Khans transformation from vulnerable prospect to superstar champ, is currently studying McCloskey and is confident he can plot the European champions demise.

Roach labelled the Derry southpaw tough and awkward, but is confident that armed with a flawless gameplan Khan will over come any obstacles the undefeated McCloskey can put in his way en route to becoming pound for pound champion of the world.

The four time trainer of the year, who trains eight division world champion and boxing legend Manny Paquiao, also hit back at the opposition corners claims that the Bolton native is susceptible to power shots.

Roach is adamant the Golden Boy promoted pugilists chin isnt his Achilles heel and stressed the Olympic medallist will prove as much in the MEN Arena in April.

Speaking to Mirror Sport Roach said, Paul McCloskey is a tough kid. He has a very awkward southpaw stance. I think he is a worthy challenger for Amir and his title. He’s undefeated, European Champion and has some good wins on his record.

I dont agree with John Breens views on Amirs chin and we’ll show just how good Amir is in the fight. I do believe Khan can go on to become pound for pound for champion, but we don’t look past anybody. It is one fight at a time for us, but we will take care of the task at hand. I have tapes of McCloskey’s fights. I’m studying his style. We will come up with a perfect game plan.

McCloskey is not the only Irish fighter planning to outfox a Roach trained puncher in a career defining bout this spring.

Andy Lee will be looking to tame Wild Cards Scott Craig McEwan to end up on the world title path with victory in a crossroads bout that pits Roach against fellow training legend Emanuel Steward.

And the Wild Card boss, who admitted he has been a little disappointed by Lees progress in the paid ranks, believes the best prepared fighter will win on March 12.

This by far Craigs biggest test. I dont think the pressure of what is at stake will get to either fighter. I think the best prepared fighter will win. Andy Lee was a terrific amateur and is a talented boxer. I would be a little disappointed in his last few fights, but I expect to see him at his best against McEwan. Andy holds a win over Craig in the amateurs but I dont think that will have any bearing on the fight. That was a long time ago, Roach added.

Roach, who has worked with Bernard Dunne and Steve Collins and is predicting a bright future for Wild Cards current Irish resident Jamie Kavanagh, has parted company with Guillermo Rigondeaux so wont be in the Cubans corner when he defends the WBA interim title against Willie Casey on March 19.

However the Los Angles based Hall of Famer is predicting a difficult night for Limericks Big Bang when he challenges the best counter puncher Roach has ever seen.

Rigondeaux is a very, very polished fighter. He’s is a very crafty fighter. In fact he is the craftiest counter puncher I’ve ever seen. However he only has one style. You need more than one style to be a complete fighter.

Meanwhile, Roachs Irish charge Kavanagh, who earlier this month was named Prospect of the Year at the National Boxing Awards extended his unbeaten record to 5-2 (2KO) with a shutout points victory (60-54 x3) over Mexicos Ramon Flores at LAs Club Nokia venue.

The 20-year-old Dubliner, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions will now begin preparations for a slot on the undercard of Khan v McCloskey on April 16.

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