By Jake Donovan
Former 140 lb. champion Amir Khan has tabbed unbeaten prospect Carlos Molina as his next opponent when he returns to the ring in December,
Full details of the fight are still being worked out, but will take place in the United States.
The fight will be Khan’s first with new trainer Virgil Hunter since splitting with Freddie Roach earlier this year.
"I'm really pleased that Virgil Hunter is to become my new trainer," Khan said in a statement. "Everyone in boxing knows about his skills and the success he has enjoyed over the last few years.
“I'm looking forward to the start of my training camp and working on some new things with him. With Virgil in my corner, I know that I can get back to the very top of the light-welterweight division."
Hunter was named Trainer of the Year for 2011 by the Boxing Writers Association of America, primarily for his work with super middleweight king Andre Ward.
“Amir is an extremely talented fighter and I’m very happy to become his new trainer," Hunter said. "I’ve seen a lot of him and he has many attributes such as his speed and heart. There are certain small aspects of his game that I’m intending to work on in order to help him fulfill his enormous potential."
Khan was enjoying a heck of a 2011 campaign himself until suffering a disputed split decision loss to Lamont Peterson last December.
The severity of the loss greatly diminished in light of Peterson testing positive for synthetic testosterone during pre-fight random drug testing prior to their scheduled rematch last May. The bout was scrapped, denying Khan the chance for revenge.
There was nothing disputed about his last loss, though. Khan was faring well against Danny Garcia this past July, until getting caught with a left hook late in the third round. Two more knockdowns in the fourth sealed the deal, despite a mild in-ring protest from Khan at the time of the stoppage.
Khan (26-3, 18KO) has since come to grips with the loss and has always eyed December for his ring return. A significant part of the plan included severing ties with Roach after nearly four years together following his 1st round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in Sept. ’08.
The goal for Khan is to remain the thick of things at 140 lb. Regaining a title or two is first on his list of priorities, though there have also been discussions (perhaps wishful thinking) or domestic showdowns with Kell Brook and comebacking Ricky Hatton sometime down the road.
First, Khan will have to get past Molina (17-0-1, 7KO), a California-based prospect who been brought along on the Telefutura circuit and non-televised undercards of major events from promoter Golden Boy Promotions over the past several years.
"Molina is a good fighter, who has yet to taste defeat, so I know that he will be very dangerous," Khan said of his future opponent. "He's a tricky fighter who possess(es) a lot of natural speed. I always want to face hungry young fighters and in Molina I'm up against a guy who has ambitions of world title success."
The bout will take place at a yet to be determined location in the United States. The targeted dates are December 1 and December 15.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox