NEWCASTLE, England -- Amir Khan retained his WBA light-welterweight title in stunning fashion Saturday, knocking down unbeaten challenger Dmitriy Salita three times before the fight was stopped after only 76 seconds.
Khan (22-1, 16 KOs) put Salita on the canvas after barely 10 seconds at Metro Radio Arena. Khan then hurt him with a left, forcing another count, and followed up with a lightning-quick combination to send the New York-based fighter down on one knee.
Salita (31-1-1) got up but was unsteady on the ropes, and the referee stopped the bout to give Khan his first defense of a title he won by beating Andreas Kotelnik of Ukraine in July.
Few gave Salita much of a shot against Khan, who is considered one of the most talented up-and-coming fighters at 140 pounds in the world. He's rampaged through his last four opponents, only Kotelnik going the distance in a lopsided decision.
"It was very explosive," said Khan, who won silver for England at the 2004 Olympics. "We had too much power for this guy. I'm a growing young man and developing as a man. After the first shot, I could see his legs buckling and I just had to take my time. I knew he was going."
Khan praised trainer Freddie Roach for turning around his career since losing in 54 seconds to Breidis Prescott of Colombia in September 2008. Khan has been working at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles with, among others, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
"It was a blessing in disguise, what happened against Prescott. I got beat and came back stronger," Khan said. "I'm getting stronger and quicker. Freddie said to take it easy, pick the right shots and you'll take this guy out -- and we did.
"Freddie is a great trainer, he's like a father figure to me, and to have him in my corner means a lot. Everyone knows I'm a hardworking fighter, and if you put the hard work in you're going to get the benefits."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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