LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain’s Amir Khan beat Mexico’s Marco Antonio Barrera in Manchester on Saturday to move a step closer to a shot at the lightweight world title.
Veteran Barrera, the former seven-times 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-medallist, dominated the contest, beating his 35-year-old opponent to the punch and displaying a much-improved defence since his shock defeat by 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, now trained by American Freddie Roach, maintained his intensity throughout the fight and never allowed Barrera to settle into a rhythm.
Khan is now in line for a title fight against Mexico’s WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez.
Earlier on the same bill, Briton’s Nicky Cook lost his WBO super-featherweight title when he was knocked out in the fourth round by Puerto Rico’s Roman Martinez.