Sunday, 28 April 2013

Boxing - Khan wins a close, hard contest

“Same old Amir,” said one of my fellow hacks at the Sheffield Arena tonight, shaking his head like a schoolteacher, disappointed in a student who just won’t learn his lesson.


One can imagine certain TV executives saying the same phrase with far more enthusiasm, as young Mr Khan squeezed home once again after a hard-fought contest in which he was knocked down once and shaken at least twice more.

Khan won by one, two and three rounds on the scorecards of the three English judges at ringside. Julio Diaz, from California by way of his native Mexico, was expected to help Khan’s rehabilitation after his devastating defeat by Danny Garcia resulting in a change of trainer to Andre Ward’s mentor, Virgil Hunter. Most thought Khan would end matters early. Yes, Diaz was a former world champion but at lightweight and it was almost six years since the 33 year-old was IBF champ, since which he’d been beaten three times and stopped early not once but twice.

It turned out to be tougher than most imagined.


Diaz started in reserved fashion, negative even, as Khan scored with several left hands. Diaz missed with a left in the second round but then connected with one. The visitor bent low when Khan attacked, leading to entanglement and occasional ticking offs from arbiter, Marcus McDonnell. The pair exchanged right hands and then a touch of gloves at the end of the session.

Khan continued on the front foot in the third round and fired in a solid one-two, sparking the still negative Diaz into action by way of a right hand over Khan’s historically low left.


After the pair swapped decent left hooks to end the third, Diaz seemed to grow in confidence. A right-left-right combination knocked Khan down. The Bolton man is becoming a too-regular visitor to the canvas and he rose quickly, standing to attention whilst McDonnell gave the regulation eight count. Khan showed signs of having listened to his trainer as instead of engaging in misplaced macho brawling when unstable, he held and sensibly boxed off the back foot.

Diaz tried his best to build on his success at the start of the fifth, really sitting down on some meaty hooks. But Khan took the round, displaying his trademark fast hands and slipping Diaz’s aggressive work.

Khan repeated the trick in the sixth, remaining elusive as Diaz chased him down with Khan managing to tag the advancing Mexican to boot. The seventh was a super round and another for Khan. The former light-welter world champion hit Diaz with two left hooks, a right cross and a straight right. Diaz got through with a tasty right hook. Khan briefly reverted to type, dropping his hands by his side in an act of misplaced bravado. The boxers then engaged in a good exchange; Diaz’s right eye had been nicked earlier in the round and was not visibly dropping blood.


Diaz hit Khan with hooks from both hands in the eighth round. Khan fought back before Diaz tried to chase him down again. Khan started nicely on the back foot in the ninth round. He opened up and popped in a three-punch combination. However, when on the front foot he was picked off at times. Then a Khan left hook just before the bell looked like it had Diaz in trouble, albeit fleetingly.

A left hook from Diaz in the tenth round shook Khan, as the 6,000 in attendance took in a collective breath. Diaz was literally chasing Khan at this point whilst Khan got on his reverse bicycle. He did start punching back but then Diaz got in with a left and right hook combination. The Mexican was then reduced to head hunting until the bell went.
In the eleventh round, Khan snapped in a left hook and then the boxers traded blows. Khan came off worst and was shaken again. Diaz resumed chasing whilst in a good sign for both the boxer and the impact of Virgil Hunter, Khan either backpedalled or spoiled.

In the final round, Khan tried to quell Diaz’s relentless progress by throwing punches nicely off the back foot. Diaz looked like he was going to get a great shot through by way of a left hook but Khan caught it on his glove.

Everyone thought Khan seemed to have done enough but the judge’s scorecards reflect the close nature of the contest. Phil Edwards had it 114-113; Steve Gray 115-113; Terry O’Connor 115-112.

Same old Amir!


  1. very close indeed

  2. Itunu pls explain the meanin of unanimous decisionis it that the judges wl jus rob minds togeda 2 determint the fate of a boxer?

  3. itunu ur a sexist.. u are talkin about boxers onli, our bra nko?

  4. its not over until its over