By: Eric Lunger
It was a sold-out Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK, that saw the return of former Super Lightweight Champion Amir Khan to the ring after an almost two-year hiatus from the sport. For Khan (31-4, 19 KO’s) there were two main questions to be answered. First, how much did the time off diminish his hand-speed and timing? Second, what effect (if any) did the scary Alvarez knock out have on the Bolton, UK, native?
Unfortunately, the bout didn’t really last long enough to get definitive answers to those questions. In the first round, Lo Greco came out fighting behind an awkward high, pawing jab. Almost immediately, Khan blasted an overhand right straight past Lo Greco’s defense, and the Canadian went down hard. Lo Greco got back to his feet, smiling as though he couldn’t believe he could be so careless. But Khan pounced — exhibiting his hand speed of old — and Lo Greco had no answers for Khan’s sudden onslaught. That was it, Khan wins by TKO in the first round.
In the post-fight interview, Khan acknowledged the supportive fans: “I was a little nervous, coming back to a full Liverpool crowd, but guess what: I’m back! Khan is back!” He went on to promise that he would continue to fight in the UK, “I want to be a world champion again, to bring a big name back to England and fight him here.” Khan also insisted that his future was in the welterweight division, not at 154 lbs.
The broadcast team tried to goad Khan into calling out former IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook, who was ring-side as a SKY Sports commentator, but Khan repeated his intention to fight next at 147. When Brook entered the ring, the boxers went on a fairly conventional (and artificial) verbal sparring match that lasted longer than the actual main event.
In the featured undercard bout, Tommy “Boom Boom” Coyle (24-4, 11 KOs) took on Commonwealth Lightweight Champion Sean “Masher” Dodd (15-3-1, 3 KOs). It was a competitive and entertaining bout from the opening bell, with both fighters taking risks and throwing offensive punches. Coyle caught Dodd with an overhand right with ten seconds left in the fourth round, but Dodd managed to survive till the bell. In the sixth, Coyle landed a perfect right counter, dropping Dodd awkwardly to the matt, and the former champion banged his gloves in rueful frustration before rising to his feet. This time, however, Coyle piled on, leaving Dodd’s corner no choice but to throw in the towel.
It was a treat for US boxing fans to be able to stream a SKY Sports broadcast, via the new ESPN+ service. The next ESPN+ boxing live stream on June 9th features WBO Welterweight Champion Jeff Horn taking on American superstar Terrence “Bud” Crawford, as the Omaha fighter moves up to 147 lbs.