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Khan Stops Kristjansen

Amir KhanBy Tony Krebs: Undefeated lightweight contender Amir Khan (17-0, 13 KOs) sliced through Denmark’s Martin Kristjansen beating him by an effortless 7th round TKO on Saturday night in the WBO lightweight title eliminator at the Bolton Arena in Lancashire. For those who were under the mistaken impression that Kristjansen, 30 would present any kind of challenge to Khan, they were dead wrong in their beliefs for Khan made it look effortless in stopping the outmatched Kristjansen.

Before it was over, Khan had dominated every round of the fight while knocking Kristjansen down three times in the 7th round before the referee could call a stop to the bout. The win puts the 21 year-old Khan as the mandatory for the WBO title which is held by Joel Casamayor and Nate Campbell. Judging from the post fight comments, it looks as if Khan may be heading for a possible fight against Casamayor, although before that potential bout comes off Khan will likely fight once more before them.

Khan used his speed and long jab to keep the shorter 5’7” Kristjansen under control in the opening round, hitting him with fast jabs and blistering combinations from a distance. Kristjansen wasn’t going to make it easy for him as he pressed Khan continuously with jabs and right hands. Few of the punches were landing, however, due to Kristjansen’s shorter reach and slow footwork.

Khan swiftly and steadily began to wear Kristjansen down in rounds two through four, hitting him with pulverizing combinations that Kristjansen had little chance to react to and attempt to block. Indeed, most of the time he was getting hit as he was coming forward in the process of throwing his own slower shots and hence wasn’t seeing many of the shots that Khan was landing. He was very determined as he continued coming forward despite taking heavy shots from Khan to the head.

By the 4th round, Khan was beginning to make it really look bad for Kristjansen in that he was out-landing him by a wide margin, and giving him few opportunities to land anything of significance. The trouble with Kristjansen’s attacks was that his handspeed wasn’t fast enough to match Khan’s, and without better speed, Kristjansen would be forced to eat a lot of punches in the hopes of getting close enough to land his own shots.

It also didn’t help him any that his punches couldn’t break wet bread, which made him further handicapped in the fight. If there’s any weakness to Khan, it’s his chin. He looks very vulnerable when getting hit by fighters with any kind of power. With respect to his chin, Khan is very average and can be in big trouble if he gets hit enough times. Without power, Kristjansen needed more than a miracle to win the fight; he needed better genetics, for he wasn’t blessed with the kind of strength that would have made him more of an even match with Khan. As it was, without any real power shots coming his way, Khan showed little respect for Kristjansen and began to land with impunity.

In the 5th and 6th rounds, Khan was no longer just throwing one shot at a time; he was now hitting Kristjansen with multiple combinations each time, giving him a tremendous amount of sustained punishment. From the looks of it, for my part, I couldn’t see him lasting long with Khan clobbering him with short bursts over and over again. At most, I figured that Kristjansen could last another round, perhaps two, but no more than that. As it turns out, my estimation was dead on as Khan soon after dropped Kristjansen with a left hand in the 7th round. While he was down on the canvas, Khan added a right hand, which upset the referee something awful. I don’t blame Khan one bit, though, because Kristjansen was still sitting up resting on the ropes and had his guard up at the time as if he were stuck on the ropes. It’s perfectly okay for a fighter to hit another while they’re trapped on the ropes, so for that, I pardon Khan for this one small lapse in judgment. If the shoe was on the other foot, I imagine Kristjansen would have down the same thing.

After getting to his feet, Kristjansen gamely attempted to cover up as Khan came charging at him like a angry Rhino, hitting him with several lefts, right and then dropping him with a hard combination. If he didn’t go down from the punches, he would have likely gone down anyway because Khan looked more like a football player than a boxer in that moment as he went for the coup de grace. Upon getting up for the second time in the round, Kristjansen was met with a storm of punches by Khan, eventually going down for the third time after getting hit with a big right hand. Kristjansen looked more like he went down to escape from further punishment than because he was hurt.

Indeed, he looked perfectly fine, about the same as he did when the fight started. The main difference was that Khan was hitting him with so many punches that there wasn’t much chance for him to stand up while under that kind of fire. I firmly believe that if Khan had attacked him in the same manner in the first round, the outcome would be the same, with Kristjansen getting knocked about like rag doll.

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