Fighting in front of a large pro-crowd, WBA light welterweight champion Ricky Burns (41-5-1, 14 KOs) kept his title by defeating previously unbeaten mandatory challenger Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) on Friday night at the SSE Hyro in Glasgow, Scotland. Relikh looked like the better fighter of the round in the last four rounds. He also appeared to take rounds one and two.
Further, you can argue that referee Howard John Foster completely missed a 12th round knockdown in which Relikh dropped Burns with a right hand to the head. The judges had Burns winning by the scores 118-110, 116-112, and 116-112. Boxing 247 saw Relikh winning by an eight rounds to four score. Relikh had Burns hurt in the 11th and 12th rounds.
Each time that Relikh would put a lot of pressure on Burns in those rounds, he had him hurt.
Burns looked old tonight, and couldn’t do much more than hold and move. The supportive crowd made it seem like Burns was doing better than he actually was. In truth, Relikh was the better fighter tonight. Never the less, Burns will have his work cut out for him if he fights Adrien Broner next. It’ll take more than a lot of cheering from a supportive crowd for Burns to beat a fighter like Broner.
Relikh made the mistake of following Burns around and not throwing enough punches. In a nutshell, that was the major mistake that Relikh made tonight. He got caught up too much in trying not to get hit, rather than remembering to throw a lot of power shots. Relikh came into the fight saying that he wants to be like middleweight world champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, but at the end of the fight, he failed to throw a lot of shots the way that Golovkin typically does.
Golovkin is willing to take shots in order to land his punches. Relikh was too focused on not getting hit. If he had been willing to let his hands go when he had Burns trapped, he probably would have won. I say probably, because there’s a chance that Relikh might not have won the fight no matter what he did tonight. The scoring from the judges was nothing short of atrocious in my view, especially the judge that scored it 118-110 for Burns. You have to wonder what fight that judge was watching tonight, because he gave Relikh no credit for him dominating Burns in rounds 1-2 and 9-12.
Burns through a lot of punches, but he was missing over and over again all night long. You can’t score rounds for missed punches in boxing.