Boxing: Khan leaves Salita in a heap with thrilling show of force

Bolton’s finest wastes no time in showing his world-class standing under Roach

Amir Khan produced the most stunning performance of his young career to retain his World Boxing Association light-welterweight title in just 76 seconds here at the Metro Radio Arena last night.

His mandatory challenger, Dmitriy Salita, literally never knew what hit him, hammered to the floor three times in the opening round and beaten for the first time in 32 contests.

The echoes of the opening bell had barely died away before Khan sent him crashing with a sweetly delivered right to the jaw. He rose pale and shaken to take a statutory eight-count before Khan pounced again, pummelling him to one knee in the neutral corner before he was hauled off by Puerto Rican referee Luis Pablon.

Again, the Ukrainian emigre from Brooklyn got to his feet only to be chased across the ring and sent flying into the ropes with a left hook which prompted the referee to step in and save him from what would have been further savage humiliation.

Stunning indeed, and no one was more stunned than Salita, the 27-year-old who on paper was due to present Khan with the most exacting examination since the former Olympic silver medallist was himself flattened by Breidis Prescott last year. Khan did to Salita what Prescott did to him, showing how much he has improved and how his skills and speed have been honed in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Freddie Roach.

"Very explosive," said Khan. "It was just what we asked for. We had too much firepower for this guy. After the first shot I could see his legs buckling." He went on to thank Roach for helping to get his career back on track. "Freddie is like a father figure to me and just having him in the corner gives me so much confidence."

He added: "It was a blessing in disguise what happened to me against Prescott. I've come back stronger and now I'm a world champion and a world champion defender." Khan, who will be 23 on Tuesday, showed how far he has leapt beyond his boxing adolescence. These were fists of fury which landed cleanly and precisely.

If there was any doubt about the reaction Khan would receive from the capacity crowd of 10,000 after his comments that he was disturbed by what he felt was a racist attitude in this country, it was clear from the reception he received that he is indeed a genuine sporting hero.

Earlier, London's Kevin Mitchell had shown the way to beat Prescott, the Colombian whose first-round fusillade had brought that embarrassing blip to Khan's career 15 months ago.

The 25-year-old won by taking Khan's advice to duck, dive and keep his chin out of the way, frustrating the six-footer who towered over him and came into the ring looking like a middleweight.

The onlooking David Haye would have approved of Mitchell's technique of skipping in then skipping out, exposing Prescott as more of a crude clubber than the ogre who dismantled Khan.

Mitchell won a unanimous 12-round decision, all three ringside judges scoring heavily in his favour overthe length of this eliminator for the World Boxing Organisation lightweight title. It was a contest of fiery spats and venomous exchanges both verbal and fistic, but Mitchell, now unbeaten in 30 bouts, boxed with intelligence and calmness.

Prescott, who had won on a disqualification and lost in another bout since defeating Khan 15 months ago, flung his best shots but they were wild, Mitchell managing to contain them and score with his own countering in the finest display of his career.

Britain's trio of Olympians, James DeGale, Frankie Gavin and Billy Jo Saunders, all came through their respective fifth professional bouts with convincing victories against reasonably experienced opponents.

The most impressive was Khan's old amateur spar mate Gavin, who continued his series of inside-the-distance wins by stopping Frenchman Samir Tergaoui with just nine seconds of the last round remaining in his first six-rounder. The Birmingham welterweight, a former World Amateur champion, put Tergaoui down in the sixth for an eight count before forcing the referee's intervention with Tergaoui on the ropes suffering a barrage of well-directed punches.

DeGale, the Beijing middleweight gold medallist, could not put Welsh opponent Nathan King away and won by a 40-37 points margin after four rounds, the second time he has been taken the distance. Fellow southpaw Saunders needed all six rounds of his middleweight contest to outpoint Lee Noble of Barnsley 60-55. The Hatfield fighter found Noble lively opposition but was always in control, though it was disappointing he could not find the sort of finish that Gavin found.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam