Imagine Boxing Blogs

The pride of Bolton retains title

Amir Khan saw off title challenger McCloskey in Manchester last night

Posted Apr 17, 2011 by Weekend Round-Up

Amir Khan

Amir Khan managed to hold on to his WBA light-welterweight title after a points decision in his favour against Irishman Paul McCloskey at Manchester’s MEN Arena last night.

The fight ended early after a sixth round head clash incident forced the referee to stop the fight on the advice of the ringside doctor. The three judges scored the fight 60-54 in Khan’s favour so the young boxer only marginally retained his title in what was a close battle between the pair.

Barry Hearn, the manager of McCloskey is reported to be furious at the decision and vowed after the fight to launch a complaint action over the stoppage stating that McCloskey was clearly still fit to fight and labelled the judgement disgraceful. In my opinion, Khan didn’t deserve the fight last night. His last win against Argentinian Marcos Maidana was an absolute belter but this at times felt a lot more like a scrap between two amateurs and was described by the BBC as a real “stop-start affair”. Instantly forgettable would be my summing up of the fight and really not worth staying up for.

We talked earlier this week about the lack of interest in the Khan McCloskey fight from broadcasters and perhaps it is clear now why. Khan lacked his usual fierce spark and at no point brought anything more to the ring than an uninspired series of punches which resulted in misses more than you’d expect from a fighter that beat the legend that is Maidana, last year in such spectacular form.

McCloskey showed off his iron chin early on in the fight, absorbing the flurry of punches that Khan sent his way. After this initial spurt, Khan seemed to lack inspiration and just couldn’t break through the defence of the Irishman’s defence.

Paul McCloskey played a very defensive fight offering very little in the way of forward attacks, instead, he appeared to sit it out biding his time until such a point as Khan began to tire But Khan did eventually manage to breach the gloves of McCloskey with a few powerful left hooks at the start of the fifth round followed by a superb shot from the right which sent the title challenger wobbling.

Khan at this point in the contest seemed to find a new lease of life and jumped into action hitting McCloskey with another barrage of punches before a clash of heads gave the Irishman a cut just above his left eye. It was believed to be a simple cut and when the fight was called to a halt, it was thought that the ringside doctor was carrying out nothing more than a routine inspection however, the referee, acting on the advice of the doctor, decided to bring the bout to a close.

At the time, McCloskey offered almost no protest which I suspect was because he sensed the shift in the fight and knew it wasn’t going his way although in the after-match interviews, presumably having spoken with his management he was flogging the line that he’d been cheated.

It looked like there was going to be a burning at the stakes last night as a wave of boos echoed around the MEN Arena when the announcement was made. Khan’s victory was a hollow one at best and the boxer from Bolton seemed to recognise this as the empathy for his opponent was visible on his face.

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