Thursday, February 02, 2023  |



Ricky Burns trying to rebound from ‘crushing defeat’


Former WBO lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns will try to rebound from a “crushing defeat” and net his first win in over a year in Saturday’s junior welterweight debut against Alexandre Lepelley at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England.

Burns (36-4-1, 11 knockouts) had gone unbeaten in 22 fights before falling by consecutive unanimous and split decisions to undefeated fighters Terence Crawford and Dejan Zlaticanin in March and June, respectively.

Burns was dethroned as WBO titleholder by Crawford at the Scottish Exhibition Centre, Glasgow, Scotland before being floored in the first round of his next loss to Zlaticanin at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow.

“The Zlaticanin fight was a more crushing defeat than actually losing my world title. I should have been punching holes in him. When I look back at it, I was really, really struggling to get the weight off. It just wasn’t budging and it did affect my performance,” said Burns, 31.

“During the fight, I knew what was happening but I couldn’t get out of the way of his shots. He was looking for the big overhand left hooks and every time he threw it, I knew it was coming. But I couldn’t evade them. Trying to boil myself down [to weight] was just draining the energy out of me. So, fingers crossed, that up here, it’s a new start.”

The light-hitting Lepelley (17-1-1, 3 KOs) is riding a 13-fight winning streak since being outpointed by Amine Hosni in November 2008. Leppelley is coming off a unanimous decision over Alix Djavoiev in February.

In another bout on the 11-fight Burns-Lepelley card, junior middleweight Brian Rose will face Ignacio Lucero Fraga in an attempt to bounce back from June’s seventh round stoppage loss to WBO beltholder Demetrius Andrade, who floored Rose once each in the first and third rounds.

Fraga, 31, was last in action for a draw with Alejandro Gustavo Falliga last month that followed a first round stoppage loss to Patrick Teixeira in March.

“Tonight is now the biggest fight of my career. I need to come back in style. It’s not just about winning but about performing and coming back with a bang. I don’t want to just scrape a win. I want to show that I belong at the top of my own bills in front of my own sell-out crowds and boxing in America. So it starts here with a good performance and a win, getting a few titles and another world title shot,” said Rose, 29.

“On the night and the day after [losing to Andrade], I was devastated. But I came home and had time with my family and that’s always a big lift. Family is always there for me and it put things into perspective for me. It made me realize that there’s more to life than just boxing. I’d sacrificed so much to get to the world title shot and – don’t get me wrong – the hunger is still there. But family came first for the five or six weeks I had off.”


Saturday’s entire 11-fight card is as follows:

Reece Cartwright vs. Jan Balog, middleweights

Arfan Iqbal vs. Martin Horak, cruiserweights

David Brophy vs. Vitalie Mirza, super middleweights

Stephen Simmons vs. Courtney Richards, cruiserweights

Callum Johnson vs. Luke Allon, light heavyweights

Simon Vallily vs. Jiri Svacina, cruiserweights

Brian Rose vs. Ignacio Fraga, junior middleweights.

Tyrone Nurse vs. Dave Ryan, junior welterweights

Callum Smith vs. Rafael Sosa Pintos, super middleweights

Ricky Burns vs. Alexandre Lepelley, junior welterweights

Josh Warrington vs. Davide Dieli, featherweights


Note: Quotes taken from a release from Matchroom Sport