Khan finally comes of age with WBA win

MANCHESTER - Amir Khan finally lived up to expectation with a unanimous decision over Andreas Kotelnik to capture the WBA junior welterweight title on Saturday.

MANCHESTER - Amir Khan finally lived up to expectation with a unanimous decision over Andreas Kotelnik to capture the WBA junior welterweight title on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Khan's blistering victory came five years after a career-launching Olympic silver medal and 10 months after he was knocked out by Breidis Prescott in 54 seconds.

Two judges scored the fight 118-111, while the third had it 120-108.

"It's the best feeling ever," Khan said. "I stuck to the game plan and stayed concentrated.

"In the early days I used to rush, but now I use my brains." Khan was stepping up a division to face Kotelnik, 31, but didn't appear to lose any speed.

After his surprising loss to Prescott, Khan began working with well-respected trainer Freddie Roach, who has helped guide Manny Pacquiao to the top of the pound-for-pound lists.

A fifth-round stoppage victory in March in over highly respected Marco Antonio Barrera - his first loss since 2005 - helped restore Khan's confidence. "Khan chose the right tactics," Kotelnik said.

Earlier, Khan saw the British Olympians looking to follow in his footsteps. On the under card, a trio of Britain's Beijing competitors easily made it three wins out of three since turning professional.

Middleweight gold medalist James DeGale stopped Ciaran Healey in the first round with a sharp left body shot.

There was a second-round stoppage for Frankie Gavin, against Graham Fearn to claim a third straight win.

Gavin, whose medal chances in Beijing were ruined when he had weight problems, finished Fearn with a left hook to the body.

Billy Joe Saunders also stopped Matt Scriven, who had lost his previous 27 fights, in the second round. Saunders lost in the second round in Beijing after being tipped to win a gold medal at light-welterweight.

Sapa-AP

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