Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

Amir Khan denies 'quit' claims after Terence Crawford insists 'he was looking for a way out'

British boxer's attempt to dethrone the WBO welterweight champion ended after six rounds when his corner withdrew him from the fight following a low blow

Amir Khan denied claims he "quit" after six rounds of the WBO welterweight title fight against champion Terence Crawford at New York's Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

The 32-year-old British boxer had already suffered a first-round knockdown and was being punishingly outboxed by the unbeaten American when Crawford landed a powerful low blow.

Khan was by then also appearing to struggle with an injury to his right arm and, instead of taking the full five minutes he would have been allowed to recover, was withdrawn by his trainer Virgil Hunter, ensuring his defeat via stoppage.

The conclusion was both unsatisfactory and out of character within the context of Khan's career, in which of his five defeats four have come inside the distance but previously without questions surrounding his heart.

Saul Alvarez's knockout was devastating and against both Breidis Prescott and Danny Garcia he was admirably attempting to fight on. But the crowd in New York was so angry at his withdrawal against Crawford that he was loudly booed until he left the ring.

Crawford, after Ukraine's Vasyl Lomachenko widely considered the finest fighter in the world, even interrupted Khan's post-fight press conference to insist he "tell the truth" about his defeat, but his challenger responded: "I could feel it in my stomach.

"I recovered from shots in that fight but I just never recovered from that last shot. I don't want to take anything away from Crawford, he put on a great fight; it was a pleasure to be in the ring with him.

"I would never quit - I'd rather get knocked out. I've been knocked out because I've tried. I've never quit from a fight. A great fighter beat me. I don't quit.

"I've had a few little problems in camp (with my right arm) but it was fine; the adrenaline kept it going. I was OK to continue.

"If I quit I would not be sat here in front of you - I wanted to face you and to face Terence as well.

"I wanted to fight the best out there and win as many titles as I can. I'll spend time with my family and see where I go from there. I lost to a very good fighter - he's very skilful. I'm 32. I've still got a lot left in me and I still love the sport."

There will be even greater interest in Crawford next fighting fellow American and welterweight champion Errol Spence, and he said to Khan: "You didn't quit? Tell the truth. I'm asking you what happened.

"It was low, it was low; it probably was low. I saw Amir's face and he was shaking his head. I was getting disappointed because I knew he was looking for a way out. I thought 'Oh, man, he's about to quit', and I was right.

"I was touching him more, picking up the intensity, and he was looking for a way out."

Updated: April 22, 2019 08:36 AM

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