Amir Khan yesterday counted to 10 after saying he would announce "in due course" the name of the trainer he hopes will mastermind his route back to the top of boxing after a tumultuous few months.
The 25-year-old hinted he was about to make a fast-track decision on the identity of his new mentor after parting company with Freddie Roach, regarded by many as the best trainer in the business, in the wake of his defeats to Lamont Petersen and Danny Garcia.
The split was expected in the aftermath of the Bolton fighter's July 14 loss to Garcia which saw him lose his WBA and WBC light-welterweight titles. But, after announcing the news on his Twitter account, he then teased fans by saying he would reveal his next trainer in "10 minutes" before checking himself and altering that timescale to some indeterminate future point.
Loading article content
The former Olympic silver medallist thanked Roach for his services, but acknowledged a four-year partnership that at one time promised so much was now over. He wrote: "I feel now is the right time in my career to make a fresh change and bring in a new trainer. I'm looking forward to, and am excited, about the prospect of working alongside someone new. I will make an announcement in due course of who this will be."
Khan may well choose to be trained in England, meaning he will no longer have to make regular trips to Los Angeles or the Philippines, where Roach trains Manny Pacquiao, the world's best pound-for-found fighter.
He will also be looking for a fresh impetus given the backward steps he has taken over the last year. He lost to Petersen in Washington last December, although the result was eventually overturned owing to the American's failed drugs test, and was then sensationally stopped in the fourth round by the largely unknown Garcia when the pair met two months ago.
Khan said in the aftermath of that defeat that he was eager to remain with Roach, who is widely credited with getting Khan's career back on track following his surprise loss to Bredis Prescott in September 2008. A sticking point came, though, with Khan thought to want Roach to focus fully on him in pre-fight camps, rather than the rest of his stable. Roach admitted as much in his assessment of what had happened, telling ESPN.com: "He [Khan] said, 'I know you're busy with your other fighters and I'm going to go in a different direction'. He was being nice. I wished him luck. I've been fired before."
Khan now has to plot a redemptive route back on to the boxing ladder, but already a first rung has presented itself in the form of his friend Ricky Hatton who announced his ring comeback on Friday.
The 33-year-old former world light welterweight champion could face Khan in an all-British bout after announcing that he was ending a three-year exile from the ring after his last fight saw him knocked out by Pacquiao in their IBO title fight in Las Vegas.
Ironically, Hatton, too, will rely on a new cornerman and has picked Manchester-based Bob Shannon, who has guided his brother Matthew to a world title shot, to link up with him. The veteran trainer says he could see the desire in his friend's eyes from the moment they met.
"Everyone deserves a second chance," Shannon said. "He told me he wants to redeem himself for his son, his family and his fans. That's what I wanted to hear. It's now my job to get him back up there."
The Hitman has been plagued by well-publicised problems with drink and depression since officially hanging up his gloves in 2011 and yesterday he had other issues to contend with after it emerged his father was arrested for attacking him the day before he announced his comeback.
It is understood Hatton had to protect himself after his father Ray, 61, attacked him during a heated row in the car park outside his Manchester gym on Thursday morning. Police were called and Hatton senior was arrested and cautioned. The boxer was uninjured.