Amir Khan and Samuel Vargas traded knockdowns, but it was Khan who came out with the unanimous decision on Saturday at Arena Birmingham.
The scores were 119-108, 119-109 and 118-110. FightNights.com had it 117-110 for Khan.
Khan returned to the ring following a two-year hiatus in April, when he demolished Phil Lo Greco in 39 seconds. It was his first bout since May 2016 when he faced then WBC middleweight world titleholder Canelo Alvarez in an ill-advised 155-pound catchweight fight, where Alvarez put him to sleep with a brutal overhand right in six rounds.
Khan (33-4, 20 KO's), 31, dropped Vargas 17 seconds into the second round with a quick combination, but the Bolton fighter, still as vulnerable as ever, got caught with another overhand right that planted him on his back, but unlike the fight with Canelo, Khan immediately rose to his feet.
Vargas (29-4-2, 14 KO's), 29, a Columbia native based in Toronto, Canada, went down again in the third on a punch that appeared to have landed behind the head, but referee Terry O'Connor ruled it a knockdown nonetheless.
From there, Khan used his jab and quick combinations on the inside to outbox Vargas, who was bleeding heavily from the nose.
Vargas, though, never backed down, continuing to pressure Khan, wobbling the former two-division world champion with a right hand in the closing seconds of the 10th round.
Luckily for Khan, he was able to get his legs back underneath him again and listened to the advice of new head trainer Joe Goossen, who urged him to "calm down."
After the bout, Khan called out Manny Pacquiao and Kell Brook. He also wants one more fight before the end of the year, preferably against Pacquiao. However, if Khan is unable to land a fight with the current WBA "Regular" welterweight champion, he would be willing to face Brook. Both fighters have called each other out since as early as 2013, and Khan stated in May that he would love to finish his career with a victory over his domestic rival.