Amir Khan Captures First World Championship
By Brandon Estrict, Doghouse Boxing (July 18, 2009)  
Amir Khan entered the ring Saturday at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester with gold wrapped around him, in the form of his robe, boots and trunks, and the left the ring about 48 minutes later with a matching WBA Light Welterweight Championship belt around his waist.

Khan, 21-1 (15), was able to wrestle the title away from savy veteran Andreas Kotelnik, who falls to 31-3-1 (13), in the Germans’ 3 defense by staying busy, setting a blistering pace from the outset and maintaining
that pace reasonably well over the course of 12 round.

Kotelnik was coming off of a close decision win over Marcos Maidana, the man who recently tko’ed American 140 lb. prospect Victor Ortiz, and had referred to Khan as a “little boy” in the build-up to the fight, obviously taking verbal shots at Amir’s suspect chin and his devastating first round KO-loss to Breidis Prescott a little less than a year ago.

But under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, the boy became a man tonight, flashing his dazzling hand and footspeed, often leaving a befuddled Kotelnik searching for ways to get off. Khan swarmed Kotelnik with activity, which basically tells the story of the fight, outworking him to the tune of 878 punches thrown to 463, and more than doubling the now former Champion in landed blows at 170 to 80.

It was a very good performance for the young, rising star although he seemed to flick his shots, not really committing to his power-punching, and seemed to rush himself at times. All in all, it was enough to get the job done on this day, and at 22 years of age, Amir has become the third youngest recognized World Champion in British boxing history behind Prince Naseem Hamed and Herbie Hide. There are also accolades for trainer-extraordinaire Roach, who manned his 25th corner to a Championship.

Kotelnik, for his part did land some solid shots on a Khan chin wrapped in question marks, but they were too few and far between to make any serious impact as Khan was able to shrug off each clean punch and answer with a flurry of his own that sent the Manchester crowd into a frenzy each and every time, even when Kotelnik managed to block most of the shots.

Team Kotelnik had to know all along just how much of an uphill battle they were facing, fighting in England and Andreas made light of the war he was about to wage by entering the ring to “They Don’t Really Care About Us” by the late Michael Jackson. What he wasn’t ready for was the speed, elusiveness and stamina that Khan brought to the table.

Khan, who was out to prove the critics wrong(even fellow countryman, Junior Witter, who predicted a Kotelnik late stoppage), gave all praise to Roach, and the tough sparring at the famed Los Angeles Wild Card gym. He admitted to being tired down the stretch, and it’s admittedly hard to blame him with the pace he set, but was able to avoid serious danger and gut it out to the finish line.

Official judges scorecards read 120-108, which may have been a little wide to an unbiased observer, and two scores of 118-111 in favor of the Olympic Silver Medalist and Bolton product, Khan (This writer had it 116-112 Khan).

With Ortiz progression having been derailed last month, the immediate future for Amir isn’t quite set in stone as of yet, but fights with Ortiz conqueror Maidana, and another countryman, the beloved Ricky “Hitman” Hatton, are two bouts that have a backstory, have been talked about to an extent and appear to be viable fights. Stay tuned to Doghouse Boxing in the coming weeks for news on WBA Champion Amir Khan’s next move.

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