MMA: Just days after father's death, Amir Khan fights but falls to split decision loss in One Championship event

Amir Khan (in white shorts) in a match against Park Dae Sung at One Championship's Collision Course II event, broadcast on Dec 25, 2020.
Amir Khan (in white shorts) in a match against Park Dae Sung at One Championship's Collision Course II event, broadcast on Dec 25, 2020. PHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

SINGAPORE - Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Amir Khan showed tremendous heart to step into the cage just days after his father's death, but fell short in his lightweight bout with South Korea's Park Dae-sung at One Championship's Collision Course II event broadcast on Friday (Dec 25) night.

Amir, 26, lost his father Tajudeen Ansari just days before his Dec 18 fight. The bout was taped and televised a week later.

Tajudeen, 61, was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer in August and had been told by doctors he had between three and six months to live.

Post-fight, Amir said: "I missed his funeral because of fight week, so I just want to show my love to him.

"I wanted to have a better fight for him, but that's life, you win and you lose."

As part of protocols in place because of Covid-19, all athletes and officials involved in One Championship's shows are isolated in a dedicated facility on the week of the event, and follow strict itineraries.

Amir has previously described how Tajudeen had wholeheartedly supported his foray into muay thai when he was aged 13, which eventually led him into MMA and signing for One Championship six years ago.

Tajudeen had also been in Amir's corner in every bout since he started competing in combat sport.

At Collision Course II, Amir approached his fight with Park aggressively and arguably had better of the striking exchanges between the pair, although in the end two of the three judges gave the 27-year-old Park the nod because of his takedowns.

"It was a close fight and it could have gone either way," said Amir.

"I felt on the ground he didn't do much but he managed to take me down two or three times.

"On the feet I was carrying out my plan but I couldn't find the finish."

In the main event of Collision Course II, Jamal Yusupov of Russia underlined his contendership for One's muay thai featherweight world championship with a unanimous decision win over French-Algerian fighter Samy Sana.

Elsewhere on the card, former One flyweight world champion Kairat Akhmetov of Kazkahstan also scored a unanimous decision victory over Kim Dae-hwan of South Korea.