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Boxing: Khan knuckles down to training in San Francisco

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Amir Khan admits he will have to spend more time with his trainer Virgil Hunter in San Francisco after being floored on his way to a 12-round points win over Julio Diaz.

The Briton quickly bounced up off the canvas in the fourth round but after a count there were more worrying moments before he looked on the verge of being stopped in the 11th round.

However, the former light-welterweight world champion prevailed and won a unanimous -- but narrow -- points decision by scores of 114-113, 115-113 and 115-112 in an enthralling encounter at the Sheffield Arena on Saturday.

The victory kept Khan on course for a shot at the world titles late this year, but before that the 26-year-old admits he needs once again to work on his defence.

It was the second fight Khan had with Hunter in his corner since sacking trainer Freddie Roach following his fourth-round stoppage loss to Danny Garcia in July last year.

Hunter, who also trains world super-middleweight number one Andre Ward, is based in San Francisco and has urged the boxer to spend more time with him in the California city.

Khan gets married in New York next month and admits he will be in the United States more with his trainer as well as his soon-to-be-wife Faryal Makhdoom than in his hometown of Bolton in northwest England.

"I know there's a lot of improvement still to be made, but it's only my second training camp with Virgil," Khan told a news conference.

"Julio took my power and he was a big puncher himself. It's only going to improve me as a fighter having fights like that. He never took a backwards step.

"I had to rethink and keep moving in the 11th round. If that was the old Amir Khan I would have got stuck in.

"I'm probably going to fly over to San Francisco between fights now and do a mini-camp so we can work on things that need to be improved upon. I'm going to spend more time there.

"I only train there for the fight at the moment which would only be 20 weeks a year if I fight twice a year, which I'm going to be doing this year because of Ramadan (the Muslim holy fasting month).

"I want to spend twice as much time over there. The more time I spend with Virgil, the better I will get. I know what mistakes I made.

"It's going to be difficult with my whole family living in England."

Hunter says Khan must visit him before beginning training for his next fight -- probably in December -- if he wants to avenge his world title defeats to Garcia and Lamont Peterson, both from the United States.

"Right now Amir is at a disadvantage to these other guys who have given him problems because they are with their trainers all the time," Hunter said.

Diaz, 33, has no intention of retiring and hopes to face another light-welterweight contender next after insisting Khan never hurt him.

The former world lightweight champion, who lives in California, also urged Khan to spend more time with Hunter and says the Briton is too exposed.

"I couldn't finish him because he became more dangerous when he was hurt," Diaz said.

"I focused too much on the knockout and let the rounds slip away. It was a fair decision.

"He still made the same mistakes. You can't change a fighter overnight, you have to be there 24/7. He needs to stop exposing himself."

On the undercard in Sheffield, northern England, Deontay Wilder stretched his record to 28 knockout wins from 28 fights with a 70-second demolition of Audley Harrison, but claims he is not in a rush to face world heavyweight number one Wladimir Klitschko.

Wilder, 27, showed why he is the United States' best heavyweight hope of reclaiming the world titles held by the Ukrainian brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko by making quick work of Harrison, 41.

"Winning the world heavyweight title would be like electing a president in America, it would be special," Wilder said.

"We are starving for it and I'm the man for the job."

Asked when he would be ready for the Klitschkos, Wilder replied: "If it was up to me it would be sooner rather than later."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130428/boxing-khan-knuckles-down-training-san-francisco