By Keith Idec
Joe Goossen is encouraged by the progress he and Amir Khan have made during their short time together.
Khan hired Goossen as his trainer recently because Virgil Hunter has been dealing with an undisclosed medical issue. They’ve been working together for less than a month in Southern California, but Goossen has liked what he has seen from the former super lightweight champion.
The 31-year-old Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) will end nearly a two-year layoff April 21, when he is scheduled to encounter Toronto’s Phil Lo Greco (28-3, 15 KOs) at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
“Amir Khan is one of my favorite fighters to watch,” Goossen told Sky Sports for a story recently posted to the network’s website. “I’m a fan, too. I’ve had some great fighters, but he’s right up there. We hit it off really well and trained very hard in the first week. I gave him a taste of what I do and he appreciated it. We’ve made a lot of progress in the past three weeks.”
England’s Khan acknowledged that hastily changing trainers isn’t ideal, but Goossen has made that transition smoother.
“Joe’s getting me back in the groove again and helping me set the game plan for this guy Lo Greco,” Khan said. “And hopefully, I’ll put a good job on him. Obviously, I feel bad for Virgil. He’s sick. I had to move quickly, but I’m happy Joe came in to help and took the job on. It was a crucial time for me because I needed someone to help me.
“I thought Joe, with the experience he’s got in boxing and training fighters like [Diego] Corrales and [Joel] Casamayor, he knows how to work with my style and weight division. I think he’s a good match and I hope the fight goes well now.”
Khan hasn’t fought since suffering a sixth-round knockout defeat to Canelo Alvarez in May 2016.
The contract weight for Khan’s loss to Alvarez in their WBC middleweight championship match was 155 pounds. He’ll battle Lo Greco at a contracted catch weight of 150 pounds (Sky Sports; ESPN+ app).
“I see a big difference in my style already,” Khan said in reference to working with Goossen. “I’m just looking forward to getting in the ring. It’s been a long time. I can’t wait. I’m itching to get in.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.