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Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) successfully defended his WBA light welterweight belt against previously unbeaten European champion Paul McCloskey (22-1, 12 KOs) with a unanimous technical decision win in six rounds. But controversy marred Khan’s win, stemming from a premature and perhaps an unmerited stoppage by the referee.

Khan was dominating the fight from the starting bell and hammering McCloskey when an unintentional headbutt occurred in the 6th round. A small but profusely bleeding cut over McCloskey’s left eye prompted the referee to call the doctor’s attention. After a brief look at McCloskey’s cut, doctor deemed the fighter unfit to continue and the referee waved the fight off.

Fans and promoters, including GBP’s Oscar dela Hoya, protested the call.

“I would have knocked him (McCloskey) out if they let the fight continue,” Khan said in a post-fight interview.

Khan’s head trainer Freddie Roach looks forward to a bout with the winner of the Andre Berto-Victor Ortiz showdown or a unification bout with Tim Bradley for his ward.

New Champions

In what could be a major upset for this year, Orlando Salido (35-11-2, 25 KOs) delivered Juanma Lopez’s (30-1, 27 KOs)  first defeat and in the process, stripped the latter of his WBO featherweight title.

The fight was fairly even during the first four rounds but Salido pressed the attack in the fifth, decking the Puerto Rican superstar near the end. Salido never relented in his assault and battered a fading Lopez in the following stanzas. In the 8th round, Salido unleashed another barrage on a seemingly helpless yet still punching Lopez, prompting referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. to call a halt.

Andre Berto (27-1, 22 KOs) also tasted his first defeat at the hands of Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) in their WBC welterweight clash. Both men went down to the mat several times. But it was Ortiz who dished more as the fight wore on, especially in the late rounds. Both men were visibly exhausted but Ortiz plodded on.

Despite a point deduction in the 10th round, Ortiz managed to stack the points high, giving him the unanimous decision nod and the WBC welterweight crown.

Photo credit: www.boxnews.com.ua

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.