MMA: Amir insists dominant win proves his worth in the cage

Singapore's Amir Khan landing a head kick on Australian Adrian Pang at One Championship's Immortal Pursuit event on Friday. He took his win-loss record to 9-2 with the win.
Singapore's Amir Khan landing a head kick on Australian Adrian Pang at One Championship's Immortal Pursuit event on Friday. He took his win-loss record to 9-2 with the win.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

He admitted that critics have accused him of winning easy fights and getting "lucky" knockout punches, but Singapore mixed martial arts exponent (MMA) Amir Khan believes he has proven the naysayers wrong with his latest victory.

On Friday, the 23-year-old took his professional win-loss record to 9-2 with a unanimous decision win over Australian Adrian Pang (22-11) at One Championship's Immortal Pursuit event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Seven of his victories have been via knockouts or technical knockouts, where the referee stops the bout.

The Singaporean, who fights in the lightweight (70.4-77.1kg) class, said: "He was my toughest opponent yet; he is one of the top contenders (in my weight division) and he is one of the most experienced fighters (around).

"I definitely moved up one level (with this fight)... sometimes with knockouts, people say that I had a lucky punch... everyone says I am not fighting people on my level, but this was a guy who has more than 30 fights, he has never been knocked out or dominated, until I dominated him tonight.

"(The win) shows that I can dominate fights as well, it's not just luck. I have the skill and the talent, and I put in the hard work."

Known for his aggressive style, Amir was patient against the 40-year-old Pang in the co-main event, staying out of his reach and not engaging his opponent in a head-on punching contest.

Amir, who also works as an instructor at the Evolve MMA gym, said: "I could have made it a dogfight, a dirty fight, but I didn't want to play his game. I just wanted to pick him out from the outside.

"A couple of times after I tagged him, I felt he was losing spirit, but I kept myself composed and didn't overcommit as I didn't want to make mistakes."

He believes he is ready to take on Australian Martin Nguyen for the lightweight world title, but One chairman Chatri Sityodtong had previously told The Sunday Times that Amir is still "two or three fights away".

Amir said: "I want to fight for the belt and have it around my waist, but if One thinks I have to get through another step, I will continue to prove myself."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 26, 2017, with the headline 'Amir insists dominant win proves his worth in the cage'. Print Edition | Subscribe