Amir Khan has retained the World Boxing Association light-welterweight title. Challenger Paul McCloskey was withdrawn from the contest after being cut in an accidental clash of heads in the sixth round.
Promoter Barry Hearn of Matchroom Sports branded referee Luis Pabon’s decision “a disgrace.”
“That’s the worst stoppage I have ever seen in 25 years in boxing. It’s a little nick,” said Hearn. “Boxing is in enough of a mess as it is and this just makes a mockery of another high profile contest.”
Under the WBA rules, all three judges scored each round in favor of Khan for a 60-54 unanimous technical decision.
Many felt calling the fight over a small cut was premature since McCloskey, the unbeaten European champion, was fighting well against British Pakistani Khan.
Khan missed with his jab in the opening round as McCloskey swayed side to side, but the champion was able to land several body shots.
Following the fight, Khan tweeted, “McCloskey was slower than I thought. But [he] had good lateral movement but at times was all over the place. [He was] mainly surviving in the fight.”
In the second round, McCloskey moved better and was able to land three left hooks but the King responded with a strong left-right combination of his own.
While Khan struggled in the first three rounds, he got into the groove by the fourth and started landing heavier blows, drawing McCloskey into a series of exchanges.
The sixth round was Khan’s best before the forced stoppage by the referee. Khan went on a rampage which started to have an affect on the slower McCloskey.
Shortly after, they both accidently knocked their heads together causing a cut on the left eye of McCloskey.
The doctor was called in for inspection of the cut and the fight was stopped in the sixth round.
Khan’s post on Twitter immediately after the fight: “His team wanted a rematch…But I ain’t surprised McCloskey stayed quiet, [at the] end of the day it’s him that was getting wacked in the ring.”
Khan retains his Welterweight Title from the World Boxing Association and awaits his next fight which may be against American opponent Tim Bradley, who holds two world title belts.