WBO 130-Pound Champ Ricky Burns Wants To Unify, Looks To Fight With IBF Ruler Mzonke Fana

By James Slater: Scotland’s Ricky Burns had a great year in 2010, but the man who sensationally took the WBO super-featherweight crown from power-puncher Roman “Rocky” Martinez wants an even bigger 2011. Speaking on his promoter Frank Warren’s official web site, the 27-year-old spoke of his plans of making boxing history - by becoming the first Scot to hold more than one “world” title at the same time.

Burns, who is soon to be back in the gym training for the second defence of the WBO belt he won in the thriller with Martinez, says he has in his sights a clash with South Africa’s Mzonke Fana, the reigning IBF 130-pound champion.

“Scotland has had some great world champions down the years like Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt and more recently Alex Arthur and Scot Harrison,” Burns said. “But we’ve never had one who has held two world titles at the same time and I want to be the first. I have asked my promoter Frank Warren to look into a unification fight later this year, and he’s assured me he’s working hard to deliver one for me.

“Last year, I followed [Roman] Martinez very carefully, and I’ll be doing the same with Mzonke Fana in 2011. He looks like the man to beat at the moment, and he’s the fighter that I want.”

Fana, 30-4(12) is a fine fighter, and most fans will likely agree with Burns when he says he is the man to beat. Ranked at No.1 in the Boxrec 130-pound rankings, the IBF boss has won eight of nine since being stopped by Marco Antonio Barrera in 2005; with his sole loss since then, to Cassius Baloyi, being avenged.

As big as a fight one with Fana would be for Burns, it may prove difficult bringing him over to the UK for the unification bout. Fana has boxed in the UK before (way back in 1999), but will Warren be able to pay him enough to do so again now that he’s a two-time IBF champion? On paper, Burns has an excellent shot at beating Fana. Now 37 and very possibly coming to the end of a long and hard career (Fana turned pro in 1994), the once-stopped boxer from Cape Town would, in my opinion, fall foul of the taller Burns’ youth, aggression and work-rate.

Warren, of course, has managed to lure big-name foreign fighters to the UK before, and he may be able to get Burns a date with Fana this year. Needless to say, it would be great to see Burns realise his dream of making boxing history. How much further can the 30-2(7) star go?

Article posted on 12.01.2011

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