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Khan batters bloodied Barrera

BRITAIN'S Amir Khan beat Marco Antonio Barrera in Manchester on Saturday to move a step closer to a shot at the lightweight world title.

Mexican Barrera, the former seven-time world champion at three different weights, was cut in a first-round clash of heads and the ringside doctor stopped the bout four rounds later.

Khan, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, dominated the bout, beating his 35-year-old rival to the punch and displaying a much-improved defense since his shock loss to Breidis Prescott six months ago.

Barrera fought on despite blood pouring into his left eye from the deep gash on his forehead but he was clearly at a severe disadvantage as Khan found his range with left jabs and right hooks.

The 22-year-old Khan maintained his intensity throughout the fight and never allowed Barrera to settle into a rhythm. "This fight was make or break for me, but I felt so comfortable it seemed liked easy work catching him with the jabs."

Khan has been transformed by trainer Freddie Roach and sparring with Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines.

He is now in line for a title fight against another Mexican, WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez.

In Kiel, Germany, Arthur Abraham retained his IBF middleweight title with a tough unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Lajuan Simon of the US on Saturday.

Abraham pounded Simon, who finished with a swollen left eye, but could not land a knockout punch.

Simon moved well and took a lot of punches, but his counter-punches were few and far apart to trouble the champion, who defended the title for the ninth time and improved to 29-0.

Abraham, a naturalized German who was born in Armenia, is hoping for a unification bout against Kelly Pavlik, who holds the WBO and WBC belts.

Simon lost for the first time in 25 fights, with two draws.


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