Lightweight Amir Khan, Britain’s finest young prospect and one of the most exciting talents anywhere in the world, zoomed to a first round win over Belarusian import Vitali Martynov, who was 10-1-0 (7) coming into the ring, but crumbled the first time Khan landed at the Nottingham Arena on the undercard of the Jennings – Muttley welterweight title fight.
Khan, just nineteen years of age, was the Olympic silver medallist in 2004, blazing through the preliminaries before giving Cuban legend Mario Kindelan a good fight in the final. Khan became a national star instantly, connecting not just with his fellow Pakistanis in his hometown of Bolton, or even across the breadth of Britain, but with people of every race and creed who had marvelled at his boxing skills and admired his boyish charm and honesty.
Then, to reinforce just what a talent he was, promoter Frank Warren bought Mario Kindelan over to England for a rematch, and Khan soundly revenged himself on the World and Olympic champion before his home fans.
It was the perfect springboard from which to turn professional, and so far Khan has not disappointed in his six paid starts to date. Whilst his initial five fights had been against British journeymen with sub .500 records, Martynov represented not only his first foreign opponent, but also one with just a single loss in 11 fights. Despite fighting often as a super-featherweight, the 22 year old Belarusian stood an inch or so over Khan as they faced off before the opening bell.
Once that bell had rung, though, it made no difference. Immediately Khan began probing the body with long jabs, and then whipping in a fast hook or straight right up top. Just a minute in, a left hook then a zooming long right zeroed in on Martynov’s chin and the stick-thin European crashed to the deck along the ropes.
He made it to his feet, but was blinking excessively and looked unsteady, causing referee Terry O’Connor to wave the fight off, much to the delight of Khan’s fans in the East Midlands city of Nottingham.
“You don’t get paid for over time!” the fresh-faced teenager grinned afterwards, and the Bolton wonder-kid already has two dates booked for the next two months. With interest from Don King and his face having already adorned the cover of Ring magazine, it is highly likely you will be hearing much more about one the world’s best young lightweight prospects in years to come.
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