Amir Khan hit the canvas before beating Julio Diaz on points in Sheffield
Amir Khan came from off the floor to defeat Julio Diaz via a narrow points decision in Sheffield on Saturday night.
By Adam Norman
Last Updated: 16/09/13 10:49am
Khan stuck to a disciplined box-and-move style throughout the 12-round non-title fight but was clinging on at the end against a Mexican veteran who came to win.
The Briton dominated the first three rounds with his trademark fast hands and lightning combinations but was dropped in the fourth round by two successive left hooks.
Khan appeared to get in a tangle with his feet and was not badly hurt, but it proved once again how susceptible he is to that particular shot.
It gave Diaz renewed hope after being beaten to the punch for the first nine minutes but Khan quickly reasserted his authority and was dominant again behind a spiteful jab through the middle rounds.
The eighth belonged to Diaz as he drew Khan into a war and it was clear that the Mexican - a former lightweight world champion - had the power in both hands to trouble his opponent.
The Bolton man jabbed and moved with aplomb as he bagged the ninth but was wobbled again in the 10th as Diaz showed little sign of flagging - Khan dazed by a right hand early in the session encouraging his opponent to pour forward and outwork him.
But the 11th was arguably Khan's worst as Diaz rocked him with a combination that produced that all-too-familiar look of Khan hanging grimly to his foe.
Khan went on the run as Diaz stalked him in search of the big finish but it wasn't forthcoming - the home fighter surely pleased to hear the bell.
US-based Khan had enough rounds in the bank to be able to drop the final round and again it was Diaz who came away with the better work, a left hand followed by a right cross jolting Khan's head back.
It was all great incentive for Diaz and although Khan fought back it was nervous three minutes for the partisan crowd who held their collective breath.
It was a tense atmosphere that ushered in verdicts of 115-112, 115-113 and 114-113 in favour of Khan, who is now likely to fight for a world title at the end of the year after coming through yet another traumatic night.