Boxing: Khan looks to learn from Martynov

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The Independent Online

Khan's progress has been brilliant to watch during the last six months, as he has carefully picked his way through four bouts.

Tonight he will, in theory, be tested and will have to remind everybody just how good he can be. In the opposite corner will be Vitali Martynov, from Belarus, who at 22 and having lost just once in 11 fights could provide the 19-year-old with some food for thought.

Martynov's only defeat was last November against the Frenchman Willy Blain, who was one of the sport's best amateur light welterweights for several years, winning gold and silver medals at the World Championships in Thailand and Belfast.

The loss to Blain, the kind of fighter that Khan will not be risked against for a while, only proves that Martynov is without doubt a huge step up in class from the quartet of British boxers who Khan has so far dealt with so well.

Khan recently said that his career is going faster than he imagined and it is without doubt time for him to have to start using his brain again, because there have been moments in his last four fights when he has clearly let his heart and his power rule his head.

The move from four rounds of three minutes to six rounds of three will also help prepare him for his inevitable destination during the next 12 months - a fight over the full 12 rounds.

Khan is so good that matching him in fights where he can learn is one of the most difficult tasks in modern British boxing.

He is also the real attraction in Nottingham and is responsible for most of the 8,000 tickets sold, but the main event is the British welterweight championship bout between Michael Jennings and Birmingham's Young Muttley.

Jennings is the champion but he is both vulnerable and exciting and Muttley, whose real name is Lee Woodley, can punch hard enough to cause real problems.

Jennings against Muttley is one of a number of genuine 50-50 fights that are highly fashionable at the moment in the British boxing business, which had become a little predictable and one-sided in recent years.

Muttley has lost once in 19 fights. He has done most of his fighting on the little-known small hall circuit in the West Midlands and has mostly been matched in even fights. Jennings is unbeaten in 28 fights but has had more than his fair share of easy contests and that is what makes this championship encounter so intriguing.

Jennings should know enough to win but Muttley brings to the ring an unknown factor that is rare in a championship fight. A shock is possible.

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