Boxing / Salita Falls Hard and Fast in Title Bid

NEWCASTLE, England - Briton Amir Khan retained his WBA light-welterweight title in stunning fashion Saturday, knocking down unbeaten American challenger Dmitriy Salita three times before the fight was stopped after only 76 seconds.

Khan (22-1, 16 KOs) put Salita on the canvas after barely 10 seconds at Metro Radio Arena. Khan then hurt him with a left, forcing another count, and followed up with a lightning-quick combination to send the New York-based fighter down on one knee.

Salita (31-1-1) got up but was unsteady on the ropes, and the referee stopped the bout to give Khan his first defense of a title he won by beating Andreas Kotelnik of Ukraine in July. For Salita, it was a short, bitter attempt to follow in Yuri Foreman's footsteps and become the second Orthodox Jewish boxer to win a boxing crown this year.

Few gave Salita much of a shot against Khan, who is considered one of the most talented up-and-coming 64-kilogram fighters in the world.

"It was very explosive," said Khan, who won silver for Britain at the 2004 Athens Olympics. "We had too much power for this guy. I'm a growing young man and developing as a man. After the first shot, I could see his legs buckling and I just had to take my time. I knew he was going."

Khan praised trainer Freddie Roach for turning around his career since losing in 54 seconds to Breidis Prescott of Colombia in September 2008.

"It was a blessing in disguise, what happened against Prescott. I got beat and came back stronger," Khan said.