April 26, 2013 / 12:17 AM / 6 years ago

Boxing: Khan defends link up with drugs cheat Conte

British boxer Amir Khan poses during a media opportunity at Ponce De Leon Boxing Club in Montebello, California December 11, 2012, for his upcoming WBC silver super lightweight title boxing match against Mexican American boxer Carlos Molina, scheduled for December 15th in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

LONDON (Reuters) - British boxer Amir Khan defended his link-up with American drugs cheat Victor Conte ahead of his fight with Mexico’s Julio Diaz on Saturday.

Conte was jailed in 2005 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute banned steroids and his association with Khan has been criticized by UK Anti-Doping.

However, Khan said the controversial American, who was introduced to the boxer by trainer Virgil Hunter, had passed on a lot of invaluable tips.

“The advice he’s been giving me has been brilliant,” Khan told the BBC’s website. “I know he’s had a bad background and has done things he shouldn’t have.

“Virgil Hunter is my trainer and he’s the one who’s told me we are going to use Victor Conte as an assistant in a way, as he has a team of trainers who can teach you stuff.

“On the training methods he’s brought so much good training into the game. He’s introduced me to a lot of new trainers who have helped me on my running, sprinting, on my engine really, which is working my fitness, also breathing methods and telling me what to do and what not to do.”

Conte was at the center of the BALCO doping program which included several high profile athletes like Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.

A steroid specifically designed to fool testers, dubbed tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), was produced and distributed by BALCO.

Following his release from prison, Conte became an anti-drug campaigner who works with several anti-doping bodies in a bid to clean up sport.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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