Khan triumphs over Barrera in their WBA contest
Amir Khan triumphed by a fifth round technical decision after Marco Antonio Barrera suffered a gruesome cut early in their lightweight bout at the MEN Arena in Manchester.
It was Khan's most significant win of his 21-fight professional career and earned him the World Boxing Association (WBA) International and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Inter-Continental lightweight titles.
But more importantly this victory revives the Englishman's career as a top contender after a clash of heads in the opening round opened up a nasty cut on Barrera's forehead. Despite a cut deciding the outcome of the fight, Khan was dominant throughout.
Khan, 22, ensured there was no repeat of the same outcome the last time he fought at this venue, when he was stopped in 54 seconds by Colombia?s Breidis Prescott for the first defeat of his professional career after winning a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics.
Khan's defence was tight and he caught Barrera with a slashing left in the opening session, although it was an accidental clash of heads that opened the cut.
Former three-weight world champion Barrera, 35, suffered a cut eye in his last fight in Mexico on January 31 which caused the fight to be stopped. And it was the same outcome again despite the Mexican bravely battling on, blood gushing from his wound.
The Englishman has relocated his training camps to America, where he prepares with coach Freddie Roach in Los Angeles. The improvement was clear as Khan darted in and out of range and peppered Barrera with his slick combinations.
After unrelenting pressure, referee Dave Parris stopped the fight leaving the judges to rule in his favour 50-45, 50-45 and 50-44 and award him the fight by technical decision.
Roman Martinez was crowned WBO super-featherweight champion after stopping Nicky Cook in the fourth round on the same bill.
Undefeated Martinez, 26, recovered from being rocked by a left in the second round to floor Cook twice in the fourth.
The Englishman, who was making his first defence of the world title, first sank down the ropes after being caught by a left to the head, but beat the count.
Cook, 29, was then caught by the same punch from the Puerto Rican moments later and returned to the canvas. Cook insisted he was fit to continue after getting to his feet at the count of eight, but referee Dave Parris waved the fight off with 40 seconds remaining of the fourth round.
Ola Afolabi took a step towards fighting for the WBO cruiserweight title after halting Enzo Maccarinelli with a thunderous right hook in the ninth round.
The Nigerian-born but America-based boxer, who is 29 on Sunday, wobbled Welshman Maccarinelli in the third round.
Former WBO champion Maccarinelli, who lost the world title by knockout defeat to fellow Briton David Haye a year ago, was caught again in the ninth round and after getting to his feet on shaky legs, the referee stopped the contest.
It was the third defeat in 32 fights for Maccarinelli, while Afolabi moved to 14 wins, one loss and three draws with his sixth stoppage win.