Boxing: Earl next in line for Khan after powerful performance

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The Independent Online

It is too easy in the boxing business to be wise once the punches have stopped, and that is often the case when Amir Khan fights.

On Saturday night in Nottingham he simply walked through the usually durable Scott Lawton and forced the referee to end the fight in round four of what looked on paper like a good workout but turned in reality into a thoroughly one-sided event.

There was every indication before the first bell sounded that Khan would be stretched for a few rounds and would thus have to use his brain, but once a lively crowd had settled it was obvious within seconds that Khan was simply too fast, too clever and, more importantly, too powerful.

Lawton had lost earlier this year in a British title fight and in the debris of his changing room late on Saturday he insisted that Khan would beat the current British champion at lightweight, Jon Thaxton. Khan has been saying the same thing for a long time. Thaxton retained his British title on Friday night at York Hall in London, when he stopped Dave Stewart in round 12. The fight was also an eliminator for the right to begin negotiations for a meeting with Khan.

However, that fight remains a remote possibility at best, certainly at the moment, and when Khan steps through the ropes again, on 8 December in his home town of Bolton, it will likely be to face a former British champion, Graham Earl.

After Saturday's fight Khan once again spoke boldly about his ambitions and once again his promoter, Frank Warren, spoke sensibly. Unsurprisingly there is a slight but good-natured difference of opinion because Khan, like all good fighters, wants to move faster than Warren, like all good promoters, is willing to allow. The art of promoting is finding a balance that satisfies the fighter, the fans and the bank manager.

There was a fight in Aberdeen on Saturday night that will no doubt have interested Khan and Warren, because Lee McAllister stopped Craig Docherty to win the vacant World Boxing Union lightweight title. The WBU belt has long been used by British promoters as a way for their fighters to ease gradually from prospect to champion.

Khan is still only 20 and there will be a few more fights like Saturday night's lopsided encounter in his immediate future before he makes a more dangerous jump. When that happens things will start to get very, very interesting.