Amir Khan rebuffed any suggestions he took an easy way out after his loss to Terence Crawford in New York.

The fight for the American’s WBO World welterweight title at Madison Square Garden ended in bizarre circumstances with Khan pulled out in the sixth round after being hit by a low blow.

Bolton’s former unified world champion was well down on the cards at that stage as the champion showed why he is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.  

Khan was down on the canvas in the first round and while he recovered, was always up against it was way down on the judges’ scorecards when the controversy came.

The Bolton News: Khan goes down in round oneKhan goes down in round one

Having been caught by the shot below the belt, the 32-year-old could have taken five minutes to recover if needed.

But with pain too great, Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter instructed referee David Fields to call it off, Crawford awarded victory by way of technical knockout 47 seconds into round six.

“I was getting caught with some shots but I was catching Terence with some shots as well,” Khan said.

“Then he caught me with a shot right on the side of my cup. I could feel it in my stomach and the pain was going down my legs and I went to the corner and Virgil told me to take a minute.

“The pain was just getting worse and worse and he told me to stop the fight.

“I couldn’t continue, there was no point taking five minutes. The pain was just too much.

“I’m a warrior, I never give up, especially not in a fight like this but I was hit with a hard shot below the belt.

“I want to apologise to the fans, everyone back at home, everyone at MSG in New York. I tried.”

The Bolton News:

Crawford for his part, was unapologetic, the three-weight world champion extending his unbeaten streak to 35 fights.

“First of all it wasn’t a low blow,” he said despite what replays suggested.

“Second of all, Virgil knew which way the fight was going and that it was going in a bad direction.”

Khan admitted that Crawford was even better than he had expected, Bolton’s Olympic medallist turning down a domestic grudge match with Kell Brook to try and become a world champion for the first time since 2012.

“He caught me with a very good shot early in the fight and my body was cold,” he said.

“I got up and knew what mistake I’d made, I was trying too hard.

The Bolton News: Khan shows the pain inflicted by one of Crawford's precise blowsKhan shows the pain inflicted by one of Crawford's precise blows

“Once I recovered after that I was okay but he’s a lot better than I thought.

“He’s a very good fighter, I give him a lot of credit.

“He’s quick and he’s sharp and that’s why he’s the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter.”

When asked about his future after a fifth defeat in 38 fights, Khan was non-committal on whether he would fight again.

“I’m going to go back and spend some time with my family and see where I go from there,” he said.