Monday, December 11, 2023  |


Ricky Burns motivated to become UK No. 1 lightweight again

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Ricky Burns (left) tried his best against Terence Crawford in March, but lost his WBO lightweight title to the talented American via unanimous decision. Photo by Mark Runnacles-Getty Images

Ricky Burns (left) tried his best against Terence Crawford in March 2014, but lost his WBO lightweight title to the talented American via unanimous decision. Photo by Mark Runnacles-Getty Images

Former two-division titleholder Ricky Burns plans to face the UK lightweight elite should he have a successful return to the division against Prince Ofotsu in Hull, England, on Saturday.

The Scotsman is fully aware that Britain’s 135 pound scene is red-hot, with Anthony Crolla losing a highly controversial decision to WBA titleholder Darleys Perez, and Terry Flanagan claiming the vacant WBO belt one week earlier against Jose Zepeda.

Burns (37-5-1, 11 knockouts) is also a stablemate of the highly-rated Kevin Mitchell, who was stopped following a valiant display against WBC champion Jorge Linares in May.

“There are so many big fights at lightweight, not only in the UK but on the world scene, and I can’t wait to get involved,” said Burns who dropped a competitive unanimous decision to Omar Figueroa in a junior welterweight catch weight bout in May.

“It was frustrating to hear people say that I was being sent out to America to just be an opponent for Figueroa but I proved them wrong. I will fight anybody, that’s the only way you get the big fights. We aren’t looking at a particular route or governing body – whatever comes our way, we will be ready.”

Despite re-entering the same weight category as Crolla and Mitchell, the former world titleholder enjoys friendly rivalry with both men.

“I was gutted for Anthony,” said Burns. “He should have been given the nod but it was a close fight. With Perez getting two point deductions, I can’t get my head round how they gave it a draw. Fingers crossed he gets the rematch as Anthony definitely has the beating of Perez and should be a world champion now.

“Kevin was gutted after the Linares fight was stopped. He was ahead by a couple of rounds but that cut was pretty nasty, the swelling was bad, and he did take a lot of clean shots. Kevin will be back soon enough and we can get back to our usual wars in sparring and he will be ready to go again.

Burns laughed, “Kevin and I wanted Anthony to win. We joked that we would have a spar and the winner would get to face him in his first defense.”

Despite an inspired performance away from home in Texas, “The Rickster” came out on the wrong side of a unanimous decision to Figueroa. The 32-year-old gained plenty of admirers and hopes to cross the Atlantic again in the future.

“We knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I didn’t agree with the (two) point deductions for holding,” said Burns. “I thought Omar was holding as much as me and that’s why I had to tie him up.”

Burns’ fight with Ofotsu will support the all-Hull lightweight showdown between Luke Campbell and Tommy Coyle.

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Information courtesy of a press release issued by Matchroom Boxing

Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Gray_Boxing