BOLTON boxer Haroon Khan says extending his unbeaten professional record in front of an “electric” home crowd made it an extra special Saturday night at the Reebok Stadium.
The 23-year-old won 60-55 on points against Hungary’s Csaba Kovacs at a packed Premier Suite with ringside onlookers including older brother Amir, dad Shah and former Lancashire and England cricketer, and cousin, Saj Mahmood.
And the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was happy to extend his winning run as a pro to five bouts on home turf.
It was the younger Khan brother’s first outing in Bolton since turning professional 15 months ago and his first over six rounds.
Speaking exclusively to The Bolton News after his latest victory, Khan said: “It was great to have the home support – the atmosphere was electric. It was packed out and even right up to the fight I was getting calls and texts asking for tickets.
“To win again in front of the home fans in Bolton made it a special night to remember.”
Khan went into the super-flyweight fight unsure what to expect from his Bulgarian-born opponent, who only made his pro debut last autumn. The Bolton star had been planning for a clash against 24-year-old Welshman Kyle King until a change of opponent just days before the fight.
Khan made a positive start with some good left-right combinations and left hooks landing early.
He had Kovacs in the corner after a good one-two attack and a left hook rocked the opponent back on to his heels in the first round.
The second flowed in a similar pattern as left-handers continued to find their range. But it was not all plain sailing for Khan who did leave himself open at times and got caught on more than one occasion without being troubled.
In the fourth round, successive left hooks shook Kovacs, who bizarrely resorted to picking Khan up in the air at one point.
Khan was always in control but wisely chose to defend at times rather than go gung-ho.
It was an easy decision for Liverpool referee Mark Lyson in the end, who awarded it in Khan’s favour to the delight of his family, supporters and trainer Oliver Harrison.
Khan conceded that, while it was not the comprehensive victory he had wished for, he was still learning his trade.
“It was a tough test,” he added. “I was happy with what was a good performance and my first six-rounder. I know I can do that distance now.
“I am still learning and it was only my fifth professional fight. I could have gone in all guns blazing, pumped up by the crowd, but I tried to be sensible. I did get caught by a few shots and will watch it again and see how that can improve. But I landed a lot of good shots and stayed composed so I am happy with my display.”