Amir Khan has become the unified world light-welterweight champion after seizing Zab Judah’s IBF title with a fifth-round stoppage at Mandalay Bay Events Centre.
Khan landed a devastating right uppercut to the body and Judah, who dropped to his knees in pain, was counted out two minutes 47 seconds into the round. There was some controversy surrounding the shot after Judah claimed he had been hit below the belt, but it took little away from a magnificent performance from the WBA champion, who dazzled his more experienced opponent with lightening hand speed before the stoppage came.
Khan was immediately onto the front foot, spitting out his jab without landing before connecting with a sharp left hook. Showing more aggression, the Olympic silver medalist fired flurries of punches with the right hand his most effective shot and Judah looked fazed by his opponent’s speed.
Judah landed with a short right from his southpaw stance in the second round, jarring Khan’s head backwards, but the younger fighter hit straight back in a brief exchange. The more experienced Judah was being bullied by Khan, who continued to advance with intent in the third.
The body was proving a happy hunting ground for Khan as he dominated the fourth round and swelling began to appear under Judah’s left eye. It was one way traffic as Judah, known as a wily and tricky operator, continued to be outboxed and he was now bleeding from the nose.
Khan was reigning down blows upon his head in the fifth round and Judah was beginning to take significant punishment. The end came in the fifth round, though it was to the body that Khan delivered the decisive blow.
Locked in a tangle, Khan spotted his chance and landed a right uppercut through the middle that landed just above the waistline of Judah’s shorts. The American went down in agony and was counted out by referee Vic Drakulich with 13 seconds of the round remaining, resulting in boos from his supporters who claimed he had been hit low.
Khan said the decisive punch had been within the rules. “He went down. It was above the belt,” Khan told BBC Radio Five Live. “It was nowhere near below (the belt). It was a great shot.”