Ricky Burns says he is under no illusions that he must beat Dejan Zlaticanin in style tomorrow night at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, live on Sky Sports, in order to get back to a World Lightweight title.
Burns faces Zlaticanin for the vacant WBC International title and the first step on a path to WBC king Omar Figueroa, but despite the scale of the fight and his first bout under new trainer Tony Sims – the 31 year old hasn’t changed his ethos of not watching his opponent.
“Tony has watched him quite a bit and that is good enough for me,” said Burns, who scaled 9st 8lbs 12oz – heavier that the 9st 7lbs 14 Montenegrin. “I don’t like watching my opponent and that’s my prerogative. You watch them and you beginning worrying what they are going to do and forget about yourself. If I go in there and do what I do best, I will win.
“Tony has seen plenty of him and the work we’ve done has been tailored to suit his style. I did some great sparring with John Ryder as he’s got a similar physique, Dejan is short and stocky and so is John for a Middleweight, but he’s a very good fighter and I loved sparring with him.
“I am under no illusions that I have to perform and look good tomorrow night. The last three fights have been tough and culminated in losing my World title belt, which was devastating of course. I am proud of my reign as a World champion and not being a World champion anymore hurts, so I want to get back there as soon as possible, and that starts tomorrow with a great performance.”
Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn has stressed that the Coatbridge ace can become a World champion again this year, but is in no doubt as to the gravity of the fight tomorrow night.
“It’s a must-win night for Ricky, no two ways about it,” said Hearn. “I think Ricky has plenty left to offer but a defeat would certainly be the end of his World title ambitions, but I am not expecting that, I think we’re going to see a great Ricky Burns tomorrow. People are going to be coming to the fight or tuning in on Sky Sports wondering whether we have seen the best of Ricky – tomorrow we’ll find out.
“I would like him to have another fight before a World title after tomorrow but you never know what is going to happen. With Ricky, you know he can pack out a 10,000-plus Arena in Glasgow so you can bring the champions over, so while I would like to get him into a mandatory position, Ricky has a powerful pull as a voluntary challenger.”
Burns’ clash with Zlaticanin is part of a huge night of action in Glasgow as Willie Limond defends his Commonwealth title against Curtis Woodhouse who puts his British crown on the line in the process.
Cruiserweight rivals Stephen Simmons and Wadi Camacho are set for their grudge match with the Edinburgh man’s WBC International Silver belt on the line, Jon Slowey faces Kris Hughes for the vacant Celtic Featherweight title, unbeaten Lightweight star Scotty Cardle is set for a step-up fight and there is action for unbeaten Scottish talents David Brophy and Michael Roberts.
Tickets are on sale priced £40, £60 and £100 on 0844 499 1700, at www.braehead-arena.co.uk and in person from the Braehead Arena on Thursdays from 12pm-9pm, Fridays from 12pm-5pm and Saturday from 10am-2pm.
VIP tickets priced at £200 are available exclusively from Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com