Britain’s Amir Khan returned to winning ways after two tough defeats with a comprehensive 10th round stoppage of previously unbeaten American Carlos Molina in a light-welterweight contest on Saturday.
Khan (27-3, 19 KOs) dominated every round and after telling Molina he was close to stopping the bout after the ninth, referee Jack Reiss waved off the fight at the end of the 10th following another one-sided round.
Before the bout, the Bolton fighter suggested he may adopt a more conservative style under new trainer Virgil Hunter after an overly aggressive approach led to a stunning knockout at the hands of American Danny Garcia in July.
However, it was business as usual at the Memorial Sports Arena for the Olympic silver medalist and former world champion from the opening bell, as Khan peppered Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs) with his trademark blistering combinations.
Occasionally, Khan lingered too long after landing a flurry of punches and Molina was able to land a hard counter punch, but the Briton shook off everything his opponent threw at him and went straight back to work.
By the fifth round, Khan, sensing he had the fight under control, relaxed and worked more efficiently and effectively behind the jab, which he used to back his opponent toward the ropes before following up with solid combinations.
“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,” he added.
When the end came, Molina had asked the referee to allow the fight to continue and sounded stunned in defeat.
“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.”
After picking up a much-needed win, an ebullient Khan turned his attention toward 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.
ABRAHAM V BOUADLA
AP, NUREMBERG, Germany
Arthur Abraham of Germany successfully defended his WBO super middleweight title with a technical knockout win over Mehdi Bouadla of France in the eighth round on Saturday.
Abraham dominated until referee Mark Nelson stepped in to stop the one-sided contest 2 minutes, 11 seconds into the eighth round, when Bouadla’s vision was impeded by streaming blood from repeated blows.
The 32-year-old Abraham, an Armenia-born German, was making the first defense of the title he won on points from Robert Stieglitz in Berlin in August.
Abraham’s record improves to 35-3 (28 KOs), while the 30-year-old Bouadla drops to 26-5 (11 KOs).
SANTA CRUZ V GUEVARA
AP, LOS ANGELES
Leo Santa Cruz defended his IBF bantamweight title with a unanimous decision over Alberto Guevara on Saturday.
Santa Cruz (23-0-1, 13 KOs) won his third defense of his 118-pound (54kg) belt in just over three months with steady aggression against Guevara (16-1), who performed well, despite taking the fight on three weeks’ notice.
Santa Cruz overcame an apparently injured nose by breathing through his mouth for most of the fight.
He also fought through a right hand injury picked up in sparring, switching to a southpaw style while steadily breaking down Guevara with an impressive 989 punches in the 12-round bout.
Judge Jonathan Davis scored it 116-112 for Santa Cruz, while Pat Russell had it 118-110 and Fritz Werner scored it 119-109. The Associated Press favored Santa Cruz 117-111.
DONAIRE V ARCE
AP, HOUSTON, Texas
Nonito Donaire stopped Jorge Arce with left near the end of the third round to retain the WBO super-bantamweight championship at Toyota Center on Saturday.
Donaire, from the Philippines, improved to 31-1 with his 20th knockout. Arce, from Mexico, dropped to 61-7-2.
The fight headlined HBO’s World Championship Boxing season finale.
The broadcast marked Larry Merchant’s last after 35 years as a ringside boxing commentator for the network.
An undercard fight between WBA super-bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba and Thailand’s Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym was called off after Poonsawat failed blood tests last week.
Poonsawat was subsequently denied a license by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
The reason for the failed blood tests was not disclosed.