Amir Khan competed in a fascinating boxing duel, here in Sheffield, writes Bob Westerdale.
By anybody’s standards, Saturday night represented a significant date in the city’s sporting calendar. But for those committed to Sheffield sport, the Arena event itself had an unusual feel to it. In football terms, it was like turning up to your club’s stadium to watch a Cup tie that didn’t include your side, or perhaps, an England friendly. Not that there was much friendly about Khan’s battle with Julio Diaz. This was a genuine conflict between two warriors. Khan won by the seat of his pants, which was where the Mexican put him in the fourth round. It could have been a draw, which would have dented Khan’s confidence given his world title aspirations. But he did enough to stake a points win over 12 gruelling rounds.
Khan, 26, fighting in Sheffield for the first time since amateur, has little intention of competing here again as fortune and fame awaits him in the US. Which is a reason why Khan is hardly champing at the bit to face our own Kell Brook in his steel city backyard. But Khan now moves on looking, perhaps, for one more contest before a world title shot.
While his contest was a dynamic spectacle, Audley Harrison’s was, well, pure Audley Harrison. He came out wide-eyed and intimidated against 27-straight KO merchant Deontay Wilder and after meekly pawing at him, like a lion cub, he was suddenly sliding down the ring post, victim of a bullying onslaught. Gone...in 70 seconds.
The only title match on the bill was Owlthorpe’s Jon Kays who put up a brave show against a slightly more compact Gary Sykes, the latter retaining his English super feather belt. Kays can console himself that he showed so much more heart than Harrison went on to exhibit.
Doncaster heavyweight David Allen carried out a one-round demolition job on plump Bulgarian, Deyan Mijailov. And Doncaster’s Adam Jones tied at light middleweight, with Pole Tomasz Mazurekiewicz.