LONDON:Amir Khan overcame the biggest threat to his unbeaten record when he was taken 12 rounds for the first time in his professional career by Gairy St Clair before retaining his Commonwealth lightweight title here on Saturday.
The English boxer made a successful third defence of his title against his Guyana-born, Australia-based challenger St Clair, who refused to be stopped for the first time in a 47-fight career.
Khan triumped by the wide margin of 120-108 on all three of the judges' scorecards in a unanimous points decision.
The 21-year-old has now won all of his 16 professional fights since capturing the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games.
St Clair, 33 on Saturday, moved to 39 wins, six losses and two draws after surviving Khan's furious raids.
The Englishman dominated but not as much as in most of his fights.
St Clair is a former International Boxing Federation (IBF) world super-featherweight champion and used that experience to block a lot of Khan's blows.
The Sydney resident accepted the fight earlier this month after Khan's original opponent Martin Kristjansen, of Denmark, pulled out with flu.
But his stamina was never in doubt and he had his own moments of success against Khan, who is widely predicted as a future world champion.
St Clair is six inches smaller than Khan, but he still caused the Commonwealth champion problems in his third title defence.
Khan won his previous fight in just 72 seconds, but St Clair, who spent a lot of the fight stalking the champion around the ring, has taken former world champions such as Diego Corrales the distance and never looked in trouble in the early exchanges.
Khan made a carefully controlled start boxing off the jab and by the second round was regularly piercing his opponent's jab.
In the eighth round, St Clair seemed to slowing down but landed a big left in the tenth to remind Khan he was still in a fight.
Khan was happy to pace himself and seemed content to settle for the first 12 rounds points win of his professional career, capturing the scalp of his best opponent in the process.