Boxing: Brutal Khan grows up fast

Amir Khan celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday in blistering fashion, confirming his coming of age not only as a man but a potential world champion. He took only 72 seconds to retain his Commonwealth lightweight title against Graham Earl, who had been earmarked to provide the most serious test yet of the former Olympic silver medallist's 15-fight career.

Earl, 29, himself a former Commonwealth and British champion, came with every intention of spoiling Khan's party. But he was hardly given the chance to put his foot in the door.

He quickly discovered he could not get inside the long jab of the taller Khan and the fight hardly seemed to have started before he was on the receiving end of a left hook and a following right that sent him crashing down for a count of eight.

Khan was on him as soon as he rose, unleashing a barrage which left Earl totally bewildered and ensnared in his own corner. Referee Howard Foster stepped in to halt what would have been, surely, an inevitable carnage.

It was a victory that Khan's promoter Frank Warren described as "phenomenal". He said: "I never expected that. Amir was simply sensational."

This was to have been by some distance the sternest examination of Khan's credentials, but he showed the massive improvement he makes with every fight and increased punching power.

"I knew I could do it," Khan said. "I knew I had the power, the technique and the speed, but even I was overwhelmed by the way I ended it. No disrespect to Graham, he's a great fighter, but to beat someone like that in the first round shows I'm improving all the time."

The crowd sang "Happy Birthday to You", and for Khan the partying was continuing into the early hours as, with his family and many of his supporters, he prepared to watch Ricky Hatton battling Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas. His bout last night had been a TV hors d'oeuvre for the boxing banquet. But what a tasty dish it turned out to be. Khan's next appearance will be on 2 February, and Warren is promising a mega-fight in June at a football ground. "This is the start of a new era," Warren said. "This fight was a huge step forward for Amir. From now on it is onwards and upwards. But the problem is, after this, it's going to be so difficult to match it."

Khan himself has a clear-cut vision of his own destiny. "I'm 21 now, and I intend to be a world champion before I'm 22," he said. "I believe I am ready now to fight anyone they put in front of me."

He says he would like to follow Hatton and invest in the US sock market. But it is more likely that he will be fast-tracked to a fight with the current British champion John Thaxton.

Some ringsiders thought that referee Foster acted too hastily in stopping the fight when he did. But in view of the punches that Earl had taken against the Australian Michael Katsidis in February for the WBU belt, it was probably a wise decision.

Khan added: "I was picking my shots from the start. I soon saw he was open to a left hook, and when I hit him I could see his legs go. It was always my intention to win inside six rounds, but I didn't think I would do it as quickly as that." Again Khan has shown that he is a young man in a hurry. Soon he will be catching up with the best in the world.

Dean Francis, the 33-year-old Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion, made a successful first defence of the title he won in February, out-jabbing the resilient Ghanaian Michael Gbenga with a unanimous points decision over 12 rounds.

But Wayne Elcock's bid to take the IBF middleweight title from Arthur Abraham ended in defeat in Switzerland as the Birmingham fighter was knocked out by the German in the fifth round by a right-left combination.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?