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Amir Khan on how Eddie Ng has taken his career to the next level

Singaporean star chats about his relationship with coach and mentor Eddie Ng

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Amir Khan is one of ONE Championship’s fast-rising stars, and his form has carried him all the way to the top of the ONE lightweight division.

The 23-year-old Singaporean’s natural talent has accounted for much of his success, but the Evolve MMA product also attributes his rise to the friendship and guidance he’s receiving from his teammate and mentor Eddie Ng.

Ng, himself a ONE Championship veteran and a coach at Evolve MMA, took Khan under his wing six bouts ago, and the Singaporean lightweight hasn’t lost a contest since.

“He has been one of the most important factors in my career,” Khan told ONE Championship during an exclusive interview.

“For the last six bouts, I have been training with him, and he has been cornering me. Things just work really well with him.”

Khan has built a natural rapport with Ng to the point that he can hear his mentor’s instructions while in the heat of the action during a bout. Even in the chaotic environment of a live bout, he’s able to take on board his cornerman’s advice and put it into action mid-bout.

“Wherever I am in the cage, he can call, and I am able to respond quickly,” he said.

“You cannot force a relationship, it just happens. Whatever he says, I can absorb it straight away, and translate it to the cage.”

It’s a relationship that started in mid-2015, when Khan was seeking out additional training sessions at Evolve MMA. He ended up joining one of Ng’s sessions, and things escalated quickly from there.

In mid-2015, Khan was just an up-and-coming talent who sought extra training at Evolve MMA. But in addition to finding more training sessions, he also stumbled upon a mentor who would transform his career.

“I wanted to get more sessions on the weekend, so I started taking his amateur class, and I really liked his philosophy of training and stuff,” he said.

“It is good at Evolve. We have everything — Muay Thai world champions, BJJ world champions, and good wrestlers, so I have to learn from everyone.

“For martial arts overall, and for the man to put it together, Eddie is the right guy for me. He can tell me one thing, and I would be able to do it right away. He is the man who puts the pieces of the puzzle together.”

Once they started working together ahead of bouts, things for Khan seemed to click. Six bouts, six wins and the record for the most finishes in ONE Championship history have catapulted the 23-year-old into title contention.

Khan says Ng’s influence has extended beyond his training in the gym, as the pair have become firm friends away from the mats, too.

For Khan, it is not only about his relationship with Ng in the gym and in the cage. He says the pair are just as close away from the walls of Evolve MMA, too.

“Even away from competition, we have a really good relationship,” he said.

“We go out to eat, we hang out, talk about life and stuff. He is like a brother to me. Outside the cage, we hang out, and inside the cage, we are training.

“I feel a good relationship is important if someone is going to be in your corner. It is almost like you trust them with your life, because they are the one watching you in the cage, and giving you guidance.

“And you have to trust them. If you do not trust your cornermen, you will not listen to them, and it would be pointless to have a corner. The good thing is I did not force the relationship. I did not look for this — it just happened.”

Now the pair are preparing for Khan’s next challenge as he takes on Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday, 23 February.

And if Ng can help guide Khan to another win, their next challenge might just be a world title bout.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Olympic Games, UFC world title fights, The Grand National and The FA Cup Final.

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