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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 00:19 GMT
Khan tested on way to first title
Amir Khan
Khan celebrates a hard-fought first title in London's Docklands
Amir Khan won the first title of his professional career as he beat Rachid Drilzane for the IBF inter-continental light welterweight title on Saturday.

But the Olympic silver medallist was made to work hard for his win, which came on points after 10 hard rounds.

Khan, who turned 20 on Friday, was fighting a 10-round bout for the first time, and he got his toughest test.

The Bolton fighter took a standing count in the seventh but his constant jabbing earned a unanimous points win.

Khan used his lightning-fast hands to direct the fight in the opening couple of rounds, as he rocked Drilzane with some excellent shots.

But the Frenchman was also throwing some decent punches, and the third, fourth and fifth rounds saw him continuing to press Khan.

Once the sixth round came and went, Khan was into virgin territory as he had never before fought beyond this point in his fledgling career.

Perhaps tellingly, he did not have a good seventh.

My teenage years have gone, I'm celebrating my 20th birthday and my first belt

Amir Khan

Drilzane started that round with real intent, pursuing Khan around the ring, and forced Khan to take a standing count midway through when he caught him with a good left.

In the eighth, Khan managed to get back on top, getting around the ring again and probing constantly with his quick combinations.

The ninth again followed a similar pattern as Khan kept his nose in front on points whilst also being tested by the dogged Drilzane.

Even in the final round, Drilzane, knowing he probably needed a knockout, went after the Briton, but Khan was able to keep boxing, and keep out of danger, as he took his first title.

With a bright future ahead of him, Khan may well see his first 10-round work-out, in only his 10th professional fight, as more useful than the belt.

"To be honest I've never gone eight rounds even in sparring," Khan told ITV. "But I've shown that I can take a punch and come back from it."

Khan said his seventh-round knockdown was "not a knockdown" and added that his foot got stuck in the ropes. "There was no punch thrown," he insisted.

"My teenage years have gone, I'm celebrating my 20th birthday and my first belt."

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