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Page last updated at 06:41 GMT, Sunday, 12 December 2010

Amir Khan thrilled to silence doubters after Vegas win

Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana
Khan was rocked in the 10th round but survived

Amir Khan believes he has ended any lingering doubts about his punch resistance with a thrillingly brutal points win over Marcos Maidana.

Khan, 24, retained his WBA light-welterweight title in a unanimous points win with his suspect chin consistently tested in Las Vegas.

"A lot of people say 'Amir has no chin', but I proved I have," said Khan.

His trainer Freddie Roach thinks Khan is now good enough to beat undefeated multi-weight champion Floyd Mayweather.

"Everyone knows Maidana is a big hitter," added Khan. "But I went in there, was hit by the best shots, and came back stronger."

Doubts about Khan's ability to take a shot date back to his shock knockout loss to Colombia's Breidis Prescott two years ago.

And in round 10 a crunching overhand right from the challenger appeared to take Khan's legs away from him, but the Bolton fighter rode out the storm before skilfully negotiating the closing stages to record the most memorable triumph of his 25-fight career.

MIKE COSTELLO'S VERDICT
">Amir Khan's assessment of the 10th round was so accurate, it was almost as if he was watching a replay as he spoke

Khan conceded he was hurt again in this bout, but credited his heart and determination with pulling him through.

"I have to say Maidana's a warrior, he never took a step back and it shows that I've got a lion's heart," said Khan. "At times I was hurt, but I had to dig deeper and that's boxing for you.

"I've been hit by a guy who has 29 wins, 27 knockouts, and I've taken his best shots. That's why I'm such a seller at arenas and I'm such a great fighter - because I fight with heart and I've got skill.

"It was getting a little easier for Maidana, but I just had to start focusing again because I was getting caught with stupid shots.

"At the end of the day this is boxing. If you go into a shower you're going to get wet; if you go into a boxing ring you're going to get hit with some shots. And I came back stronger."

Khan reserved further praise for his opponent, who turned in a display brimming with bravery and determination after being sent to the canvas by a punishing left to the body in the opening round.

"Maidana's a tough guy as everyone knows," added Khan.

"He's beaten the best fighters in the division, he had a great fight against Andreas Kotelnik, he beat Victor Ortiz and now he's come up with another classic but he just couldn't beat me."

Maidana attempted to leave the ring after the decision was announced, but his promoters pulled him back.

"I thought I won," Maidana said through a translator. "I thought I did enough in the final rounds to win the fight."

Roach, who also trains Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, said that Khan grew "from a boy to a man" during his victory over Maidana.

"It was his ultimate test so far," Roach told the Sportsweek programme on Radio 5 Live. "He fought the toughest guy out there.

"It was a great fight and he showed a lot of heart and a good chin."

Roach, however, does not believe Khan and Pacquiao would fight each other.

"They are very good friends," he added. "I wouldn't like to see two guys who are very friendly fight each other.

"Business is business, and you never know, but I hope Mayweather comes to the table first. I have two guys I believe who can beat him."

Roach wants Khan to face WBO light-welterweight champion Tim Bradley or Devon Alexander, who fight next month, before moving up a weight to face Mayweather.

606: DEBATE

Former British world champion Naseem Hamed told 5 live: "He boxed brilliantly in regards to coming through a very hard fight.

"[But] I don't wish upon him any more bouts like that. Fights like that shorten your career.

"He must have a heart as big as a bucket of gold. To get past that 10th round to the 12th. I don't know how he did it."



see also
Champion Khan wins Vegas thriller
12 Dec 10 |  Boxing
Photos from Las Vegas & Liverpool
11 Dec 10 |  Boxing
Khan plotting Mayweather match-up
29 Oct 10 |  Boxing
I will quit in five years - Khan
07 Oct 10 |  Boxing
Khan hopes to 'shut up critics'
23 Sep 10 |  Boxing
Brit Khan to make Maidana defence
16 Sep 10 |  Boxing
Dominant Khan defeats Malignaggi
16 May 10 |  Boxing
Mayweather-Pacquiao bout 'is off'
23 Dec 09 |  Boxing


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