Amir Kahn and his world-beating team

July 19, 2009
Amir Kahn

Amir Kahn

When Amir Kahn won the WBA Light-Welterweight Boxing Championship in July 2009, he was quick to thank the efforts of his team. But did he overlook one influential figure, while including another?

In the UK, Amir Kahn has been a hero in waiting since winning a silver medal at the Athens Olympics as a spindly teenager of 17. He turned professional shortly afterwards and retained loyalty to his coaching team for a while after turning Professional.

But loyalty was not enough to take him to the highest levels, and he switched trainers several times. The most significant switch occurred after his first professional loss, a first round humiliation [to Bredis Prescott, 6th Sept 2008].

The changes seem to have been orchestrated by Kahn’s promoter, the colourful and controversial Frank Warren.

The World Championship match

Amir Kahn had his first world championship match, [July 18th 2009] against Andreas Kotelnik, at the MEN Arena, in Manchester for the WBA Light-Welterweight Championship. Khan outboxed a dangerous puncher of an opponent, despite tiring toward the end.

Khan thanks his team

After the fight, Kahn, remarkably level-headed in a sport which encourages hyperbole was fulsome in his praise for his team. I thought I heard him say the following, which has the added charm of ambiguity regrading the membership of his team:

“First of all I want to thank God, thank my mum and dad and thank Freddie Roach [his new trainer]. Without the team I got it wouldn’t have been possible.”

To date I haven’t heard a replay, so my memory may be letting me down. The BBC report cut out mention of God on Amir’s team. (too controversial?).

On Teams and Super-teams

Regular subscribers to LWD will know of our affinity of looking for signs of leadership distributed across membership of a social group or team. See the post on distributed leadership at Chelsea Football Club. That seems also to be the case here.

Khan has recognized the benefits of a switch to a world-class trainer. Also the longer-term familial support. Interesting that in his ingenuous first remarks he omitted to mention Frank Warren. Not so much a team member as an influential power broker, perhaps?

Maybe Amir figured he had all the powerbroking he needs on his super- team, and he doesn’t recognise Frank’s influence.

Acknowledgement

Image from wikipedia