British boxing superstar Amir Khan was knocked down in the fourth round but came back to beat Julio Diaz on points at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, writes Graham Walker.
Khan said of Diaz: “He’s a tough Mexican, a two time world champion, But we kept going.
“It’s amazing to fight in England. I’ll keep trying to bring fights here but all the fights are in the USA.”
Julio told broadcaster Box Nation: “This guy has a lot of heart. He was hurt almost the whole fight. I spent too many rounds hoping he would quit but he stayed on his feet.”
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Having suffered back-to-back defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, Khan took the first steps towards rebuilding his career last December when he stopped Carlos Molina in the 10th round.
Fighting on home soil for the first time in two years, he started well at the Motorpoint.
Khan dominated the first two rounds, then began delivering a flurry of powerful punches - with the crowd cheering every move.
But Diaz delivered some solid inside shots in the third and then put Khan on the canvas with a big left hook in a dramatic fourth round.
Khan was quickly back on his feet and came back with fast, hard punches in the fifth.
Diaz was unsettled by Khan in the sixth, who looked at his most dangerous, with no signs of the earlier knock-down upsetting his game.
He began to grow in confidence and threw some impressive punches, damaging his opponent’s right eye. But Diaz remained a contender with some impressive counter punches.
Both boxers gave a nod of respect to one another after the eighth and they continued to trade head shots in the ninth, with Diaz wobbled as he appeared to lose his balance.
Khan began the tenth round ahead on points, but he was shaken again by Diaz and found it hard to regain his composure.
They exchanged punches and Khan was badly shaken but clung on, taking some heavy blows but he refused to go down. Diaz traded more punches in the final round.
Judges scored it 114 v 113; 115 v 113; 115 v 112.
Devastating American heavyweight Deontay Wilder took just 70 seconds to knock out Audley Harrison and almost certainly end the Brit’s fight career at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, writes Graham Walker.
Harrison, who entered the ring to a smattering of boos, was unable to cope with the first flurry of powerful punches from the boxer who is being billed as the next big thing.
Wilder now has a record of 28 fights, 28 wins - all by way of knock out.
Round one started slow as both jabbed at one another around the ring. But as soon as Wilder got going with his right hand it was all over.
Harrison went down in the corner and although he staggered to his feet, the referee waved it off.
He complained to the referee for stopping the bout. But in truth he had been done a favour.
And on reflection Harrison hinted that it’s all over.
He told TV broadcasters Box Nation: “I’ve to be realistic. I’m 41 and I haven’t been able to perform. It’s looking like then end.”
Harrison added: “He caught me with a shot. He put me down. I got up but the referee wouldn’t let me continue. I had my senses about me.
“I wanted to continue.
“I felt sharp enough going into this. Deontay is a big puncher and the plan backfired on me.
“It looks terrible on my part. This is going to be a hard one for me to take. It took a lot for me to get back to this position. I’m frustrated. People don’t want to hear excuses and I know that.”
Deontay said he’s now got Tyson Fury in his sights - calling him out with an Ali-style poem,
“This is my first time in Sheffield and the hospitality has been tremendous. It’s been exciting to perform in England. I’m super excited.
“I’m a beast and I train hard. I have no days when I don’t train. You have a goal and it takes you a long way. This is a God given talent for me.
“I’ve a purpose and a reason for being here.
“I’ve taken another step tonight. This is my year. Right now this is my time. When I go in the ring just like Mike Tyson, I have them before they step in the ring. I want a guy to take me into deep water so I can show I’ve got more.
“My desire and heart is so much bigger, it scares me sometimes.”
London 2012 bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo celebrated his professional debut with an impressive second round knock-out over Kieron Gray.
Wearing white shorts trimmed with bronze, Ogogo made a fast start, landing jabs and a left hook to the body - before his right hand knock out.
Ogogo had chosen to start his entrance with famous words from Winston Churchill.
US promoters Golden Boy give him his American debut next month, on the under card of fellow Englishman Lee Purdy’s challenge for Devon Alexander’s world light-welterweight title in Atlantic City.
Amir Khan’s younger brother, Haroon, won his first professional fight with a 40-37 points victory after four rounds over his bantamweight opponent Brett Fidoe, a late replacement.
Haroon, or Harry to his pals, a Commonwealth bronze medallist, said afterwards: “I could have fought better. Its different from the amateurs. A big crowd brought a lot of pressure. But I got the win and I’m looking to kick on.”
Gary Sykes beat Jon Kays on points to retain his English super-featherweight title, 97-94, 98-94 and 98-93.