Ricky Burns will defend his WBO lightweight title against unbeaten mandatory challenger Jose Gonzalez at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on May 11, live on Sky Sports.
On March 19 the WBO ordered the Scottish star to face Gonzalez in view of ‘the failed opportunities’ given to Burns in recent times. Promoter Eddie Hearn was given five days to negotiate an agreement for the championship bout otherwise a purse bid would be ordered.
Just hours before last night’s midnight deadline, Hearn and Gonzalez’s promoter Peter Rivera agreed terms and contracts were signed for the May 11 bout.
“I’m really looking forward to May 11,” said Burns. “He’s a big puncher with a great KO record, but I’ve been in with big punchers before and that doesn’t worry me in the slightest. It’s great to have the date and name sorted now so I can just focus on getting myself in great shape for a big night in Glasgow.”
“I’m very glad for this opportunity and it’s a dream come true fighting for the World tittle as the mandatory challenge,” said Gonzalez. “I’m not worried about fighting in Burns’ homeland. I’m preparing greatly for this fight and I’m sure I will bring the World title to my country.”
Hearn added: “It’s been a tough few days and we’ve had plenty of obstacles to overcome, but I’m delighted to bring Jose Gonzalez to Glasgow for what I feel will be the beginning of a new era for Scottish boxing,” said Hearn. “Gonzalez is ranked number one in the world, undefeated and comes with a dangerous reputation. It’s imperative that we deal with our mandatory challenger to pave the way for big unification clashes but I believe Ricky will face his toughest test yet on May 11.
“We need the support of all the Scottish people as we begin a new journey and cannot wait to raise the roof of the stunning new Emirates Arena.”
Rivera added: “PR Best Boxing Promotions is happy to reach an agreement with Eddie and Matchroom Sport regarding the World title fight between the champion Ricky Burns and the mandatory challenger Jose ‘Chelo’ Gonzalez. For us it’s like a rematch fight because Burns already beat one of our fighters, Roman Martinez, and now Gonzalez has the chance to avenge that loss.”
The bill will be stacked with top Scottish talent including former British and Commonwealth champion John Simpson, unbeaten stars Stephen Simmons, David Brophy and Jon Slowey, as well as Matchroom Boxing’s brightest young stars.
Tickets for Betfair’s ‘Fighting Pride of Scotland’ are on sale on Wednesday March 27 at 9am – tickets are priced £40 upper tier, £60 lower tier and floor seats, £100 ringside and £200 VIP (all tickets subject to booking fee). Tickets are available through the Emirates Arena at www.emiratesarena.co.uk, Matchroom Boxing at www.matchroomboxing.com and by phone on 0141 353 8000.