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Boxing | International

Amir ends the year with a win



Amir Khan sealed a much-needed victory when he stopped Carlos Molina in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

Molina was unable to come out for the eleventh round of the bout as the Briton restored his image to some extent and finished a disappointing year on a higher note.

Khan, a former WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion, took charge of the non-title junior welterweight fight and extended his professional record to 26-3, with 18 knockouts.

Molina was cut early in the fight and when it became clear there was no chance of him landing a knockout punch, his corner pulled the plug at the end of the tenth round, indicating to the referee to stop the bout.

Khan did stop a few solid blows that brought Molina's supporters some joy, but his hand speed and mobility kept the Mexican from gaining too much confidence.

After losing to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia in his two previous fights, Khan adopted a more careful approach, making sure he was leaving no opening for a sucker punch from his Mexican opponent.

The 26-year-old Khan, who had left trainer Freddie Roach and had Virgil Hunter in his corner, will have to beat better fighters to get into the top flight again, but he produced a meritorious performance against the 27-year-old Molina.

He received the WBC silver super-lightweight belt for his trouble as he moved on to fight another day.

REUTERS reports that, after the bout, an ebullient Khan turned his attention towards setting up a rematch against the last man to beat him, who was sitting ringside.

"In that fight, he caught me with a good shot but I'll fight Danny Garcia again, anytime anywhere," he said.

Khan sensed after four rounds he had the fight under control. He relaxed and worked more efficiently and effectively behind the jab.

"I thought I stuck to my game plan, which meant sticking to my jab," Khan told reporters. "Carlos took some really good shots and was still coming forward, and that's when I thought to myself I'd better stick to this game plan."

Molina asked the referee to allow the fight to continue and sounded stunned when the bout was stopped.

"I don't know what happened," the Californian said. "I wanted to pull the trigger but for some reason I couldn't get my hands to go. He was fast in his jab and I was hesitant in trying to get in."

SANTA CRUZ RETAINS TITLE

Earlier, Leo Santa Cruz retained his IBF bantamweight title when he beat Alberto Guevarra on points – 116-112, 118-110 and 119-109.

Making his third defence in less than four months, Santa Cruz, improved his record to 23-0-1, with 13 stoppage wins. Guevara suffered his first defeat as he dropped to 16-1; 6.

Deontay Wilder stopped Kelvin Price in the third round of a heavyweight bout, taking his record to 26-0, with 26 knockouts. Price, now 13-1, with 6 knockouts, matched the nearly two metres tall Wilder for size but was not in the same class as a boxer.

Frankie Gomez moved his record to 14-0, with 11 knockouts, and enhanced his reputation as a dangerous opponent when he beat Pavel Miranda in 48 seconds in a welterweight bout in Los Angeles.

Junior middleweight Hugo Centeno also remained undefeated when he beat Allen Conyers, who did not come out for the seventh round. Centeno now stands at 17-0; 9 and Conyers at 12-8; 9.

Welterweights Shawn Porter and Julio Diaz drew over ten rounds. Porter’s record now stands at 20-0-1; 14 and that of Diaz, a former IBF lightweight champion, at 40-7-1, with 29 knockouts. The scores were 96-94 for Porter, 95-95 and 96-94 for Diaz.

IN TUCUMAN, Argentina, Omar Narvaez beat David Quijano on points to retain his WBO super-flyweight title, improving his record to 38-1-2, including 20 knockouts.

Quijano dropped to 15-3-1, with 9 knockouts when the scores were announced: 120-106, 119-109 and 120-108. Narvaez was making his sixth defence.



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