Amir Khan survives knockdown to grab points victory
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Amir Khan fought back from a knockdown to prevail over Julio Cruz, but the former champion failed to convince that he had what it takes to be a worldbeater again. He edged the fight on points, but despite the unimpressive display, Khan's next fight will be for a world title.
Cruz came close to defeating the Bolton fighter, but Khan was happy to get the points decision after an eventful fight. "If this was my last fight in the UK," Khan said afterwards, "what a fight that was". He realises that close fights are what promoters like to see, and Khan remains good box-office, showing courage to get back after being knocked down by a left hook from Cruz in the fourth round.
"You never get a boring fight with Amir," promoter Richard Schaeffer said. "How did he get through that round? People like to see exciting fights always." Schaeffer is lining up a title bout at light-welterweight or welterweight for Khan, in September or December.
"I give a lot of credit to Julio," Khan acknowledged. "He's a tough guy, he's been in many world title fights, but I listened to my corner and we got the win. As for the knockdown, I was off balance but I got back up and got my gameplan back." Khan admitted he still had a lot of things to work on in the gym. His new trainer Virgil Hunter said Khan "made some smart decisions and I'm proud of him."
Khan's career looks likely to relocate to the USA for the foreseeable future. "Fighting at home was great," he said, "and I would love to come back, but nearly all the champions are in America." UK boxing fans may see more of Khan's younger brother Haroon Khan, who made his professional debut on the undercard and began with a victory.