Boxing: Khan learns vital lessons in carving out seventh victory

It barely mattered that a defending world champion was absent from last night's scheduled bill-topper in Belfast, for the occasion was amply filled by a young man with his own world at his fists. As it happened, Amir Khan was given the toughest examination of his professional career by the former Hungarian champion Laszlo Komjathi, needing the full six rounds for a hard-fought points victory.

It was a contest in which Amir learned a lot and took a few shots, one in the fourth round catching him flush on the jaw. But he smiled back at an opponent who was no hand-picked patsy. Known as "The Rock", Komjathi, 30, is a battle-hardened campaigner of 36 fights who has mixed with the best in Europe and America, and Khan had to produce a more measured performance to beat him by 60-55, the referee, Mickey Vann, marking the fourth, the Hungarian's best round, scored even.

It is clear that more work is required on his Khan's defence. He also needs to curb his impetuosity. "He was good and strong and kept coming forward," Khan said. "I needed a fight like this. The fans don't want to see me knocking them out all the time." The trouble is, they do. But the capacity crowd of 6,000 at the atmospheric King's Hall took the Bolton youngster to their hearts.

Now weighing a tad under the 10 stone light-welter limit, Khan was so comfortably under weight last week that he was encouraged to tuck into plates of pizza. He is a growing lad, both in physique and stature, as the latest victory, the seventh of his unblemished professional career, indicated.

Like its football, Hungarian boxing is built on past glories. They have not had a decent scrapper since Laszlo Papp won three Olympic golds and reigned as the European champion. This latter-day Laszlo has fought over 12 rounds against Stefabo Zoff, the former WBA champion, for that same Euro title. "Khan's just a kid," he said beforehand. He is right, and there's a lot of growing up to do before he is the finished article.

His hand speed, as always, was blinding, but Komjathi had seen this sort of thing before and was not as dazzled by it as some previous opponents.

Khan's promoter, Frank Warren, promises he will be fighting for "some sort ot title" by the end of the year. It is unlikely to be the British crown, but an Intercontinental bauble to add to his trophy cabinet.

Doubtless there will be bigger things to come in 2007 and Khan is even talking of going down the Ricky Hatton route and fighting in America. "I'd like to go there to gain experience and show them what I can do," he said. "With every fight I'm getting stronger and more confident."

Earlier the crowd had seen their very own warrior, the hard-as-nails Eamonn Magee, lose his WBU welterweight belt to the Iranian-born Londoner Takaloo on a majority decision two years after his leg was smashed in a Belfast street attack.

Danny Williams, the Commonwealth heavyweight champion, then stepped into the big-name spotlight vacated by Scott Harrison to defeat an inconsequential German-based Turk, Adnan Serin, who retired with a cut eyebrow after three rounds, in a prelude to his 8 July return with Matt Skelton in Cardiff, a bill which will also feature Amir Khan's next appearance.

But the night belonged to Khan, upon whose frame so much of the future of British boxing rests. A lot has happened to rock the game back on its heels but you feel Khan is not going to let anybody down. Most importantly, he has to keep his guard up.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn