All pictures: Stacey Verbeek, Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Amir Khan attempts to unify his WBA super lightweight world title with Zab Judah‘s IBF belt on Saturday, July 23 and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, is already abuzz with excitement. Boxing’s printed and online press was at the Mizuya Lounge and Stacey Verbeek ensured On The Beak did not miss out on Khan going through a light workout while Pernell Whitaker, Judah’s trainer, kept a close eye on the action…
Jump-rope training has multiple benefits for any athlete – boxer or otherwise. For fighters, though, it is particularly useful as it enhances co-ordination, improves speed, stamina and endurance and, most importantly for a boxer with the style of Amir Khan, it is good for footwork. Khan is a technically-excellent boxer who throws punches in bunches but also enjoys using his foot skills to maneuvre around the full space of the ring.
Skipping can also be fun! Like the speed-bag in the gym, some boxers take good pleasure in dreaming-up alternative patterns. The advantages of shadow-boxing, meanwhile, like Khan (25-1-0, 17ko) is doing above, are two-fold: it develops a fighters form and gets the boxer into the habit of throwing specific punch combinations and also maintains/improves hand-speed.
A defensive-guru in his fighting heydey, Whitaker (above) has turned to training and on Saturday pits his wits against esteemed coach Freddie Roach – Khan’s trainer. Judah (41-6-0, 28ko) worked-out first for an hour in the morning while Khan took over at lunchtime, however, Whitaker leant back, propped his elbow on the upper rope and watched his ward’s opponent train.
Khan continues to shadow-box, above, while in the picture below he takes a moment to replenish his system with water while his team of Freddie Roach (left, with glasses) and Alex Ariza (middle) share a joke. Training will continue to be low-key as fight night approaches. Both Khan and Judah have a final press conference today, Thursday, before Friday’s official weigh-in.