Boxing

Amir Khan survives scare against Mexican Julio Diaz

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Khan may have had his last UK fight (©GettyImages)
Khan may have had his last UK fight (©GettyImages).

Back fighting in the UK, Amir Khan demonstrated his new-found maturity under new trainer Virgil Hunter, to pick up a hard-fought victory against the durable Julio Diaz in Sheffield.

After beating Paul McCloskey at the MEN Arena in Manchester back in 2011, Khan travelled to the US and first beat Zab Judah in a fifth round knockout victory where he retained the WBA Light Welterweight title and picked up the IBF Light Welterweight title.

Khan's next two fights had put his career into doubt: suffering a controversial split decision loss to Lamont Peterson followed by a fourth round knockout loss to Danny Garcia. Khan opted to leave Freddie Roach and join the highly-rated Hunter, who also trains the unbeaten Andre Ward.

After defeating Carlos Molina in the US, Khan made his return to the UK last night and was well on top for the first three rounds.

The fourth round was a different story, with only two minutes left in the round Khan's doubtful chin was put into question once more as Diaz connected with a left hook, resulting in Khan coming off the canvas once more in his career.

But Khan managed to recover and boxed well for the remainder of the fight, refusing to get drawn into a brawl as he has done with the likes of Danny Garcia, and Hunter's comments in between each round was picked up by Khan who continued to be awarded the rounds.

Khan was feeding off the calm influence of Virgil, who also led Amir's younger brother to his first professional victory also; however, from the seventh round onwards there were some furious exchanges between Diaz and Khan, as Khan made the mistake of falling into the Mexican's trap of standing and trading.

Khan stood up to a crashing left hook in the eighth followed by a solid right to the temple midway through the round as Diax began to grow stronger and stronger, feeling that the end coud be near.

The eleventh round saw much of the same, Khan opting to stand and trade and was in massive trouble at certain points, but he managed to stay on his feet and land a couple of big blows of his own.

"Julio gave me a tough fight, he caught me with a shot though I was off balance", Khan stated after the fight. "He was tough and never took a step back. That was one of my hardest fights."

Khan is now one win away from being within another World Title shot, however his next performance must be much more impressive if he is to ever silence his critics once and for all.

Also on the night, we witnessed Haroon Khan making his professional debut in a four round Super Flyweight bout, where he defeated Brett Fidore in a four round contest.

Also on the card was another Olympian making his professional debut, middleweight Anthony Ogogo started his career off with a bang, with a two round knockout over Kieron Gray.

Audley Harrison was also in action, and fell victim to the devastating power of highly-rated American Deontay Wilder, who knocked Harrison out inside 70 seconds of the very first round.

 

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