Amir grinds out unanimous decision over Maidana

LAS VEGAS: Amir Khan used a series of combinations to the head and powerful body shots to grind out a 12-round unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana in their WBA title fight Saturday. The 23-year-old Khan survived the toughest test of his boxing career to successfully defend his 140-pound title.”I was hit by his best shots and I am still there,” Khan said. “I know I made mistakes, but I worked hard and came back stronger than ever. “He’s a strong fighter, and he hits hard. My chin was tested. I’m not taking anything away from him. He’s a great champion. I proved today I’ve got a chin.” Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) started quickly, knocking Maidana down late in the opening round but it proved to be the lone knockdown of the fight at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino.The relentless Maidana (29-2) regrouped and by the 10th round he bloodied and buckled Khan’s knees, almost sending the British champion to the canvas. Khan responded with a flurry of punches in the 11th and 12th rounds to take the fight on all three judges’ scorecards.

The Bolton fighter, who is based in California, finished the fight with blood flowing from his nose.Judges Jerry Roth and C.J. Ross scored the bout 114-111 for Khan, and Glenn Trowbridge favoured Khan 113-112. Maidana was not happy with the judges’ scores, saying he did enough to recover from the knockout and score points in the later rounds to earn the title. “I thought I won it,” the Argentine fighter said.”I did enough in the final rounds but they gave him the decision.” Maidana, who has a reputation as a dangerous and sometimes dirty fighter, had one point deducted by referee Joe Cortez in the fifth round after he tried to elbow Khan during a break in the action. The elbow missed and hit Cortez in the chest.The 27-year-old Maidana made Khan work every round for the victory as the two brawled in the centre of the ring with very few clinches or backpeddling from either fighter.Khan suffered his only loss in 2008 — a shocking defeat as he was knocked out by Colombia’s Breidis Prescott. Khan, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, said he chose to fight Maidana because he wanted to show he was prepared to go up against the toughest in his weight class. “I made a mistake in my past now I am a different fighter thanks to (trainer) Freddie Roach,” Khan said in the ring after the fight. Khan was fighting for just the second time in the United States.He stopped Paulie Malignaggi in the 11th round of a one-sided fight last May in New York. Both Khan and Maidana fought Andreas Kotelnik in 2009. Maidana, who has 23 KOs in the first three rounds, had won four consecutive fights since dropping a split decision to Kotelnik in February. Just five months later, Khan beat Kotelnik in 12 rounds for the WBA title – PT