By James Slater: Scotland’s Ricky Burns has enjoyed quite a boxing year here in 2010. Back in September, in challenging big betting favourite Roman “Rocky” Martinez for the WBO 130-pound title, the 27-year-old not only upset the odds, but he also gave us one half of a genuine Fight Of The Year candidate.
That sensational up-off-the-floor victory forever changed Burns’ life, yet he knew he had to get busy defending his new belt soon – even though the celebrations could have gone on for months! Last night, again in Glasgow, Burns successfully defended his belt for the first time. Shutting out a game and aggressive Andreas Evensen over 12-rounds, Burns won via wide scores of 119-108 twice and 118-109.
Now 30-2(7), Burns says he will enjoy Christmas and then look for further big fights next year. Evensen, who got up from a 1st-round knockdown and also took a hard uppercut in the later rounds but refused to fall, is now 13-2(5). The 24-year-old Colombian-born Norwegian can come again.
But Burns is the man of the moment in the U.K, and fans want to see just how far he can take his talents. There has been a suggestion that the big-for-the-weight 130-pounder may make the move up to lightweight (he really did look so much bigger than his challenger last night, and making super-feather can be no picnic for Burns), while there has also been talk of him sticking around at 130 so as to try and add another belt to the one he currently holds.
Is Burns good enough to be expected to be able to go in with the likes of Mzonke Fana, Jorge Solis and the like and come out victorious? Can Burns go up a division and take on the premiere lightweights? Back in May of this year, when he was out-pointing Youssef Al Hamidi over eight rounds, such talk would have been laughed at. But not any more.
Burns has now won 15 in a row since losing on points to the experienced Carl Johanneson (2007) and the win over Martinez saw him really prove himself as world class. A level-headed guy, who always does his work in the gym (Burns, ever the perfectionist, was unhappy with last night’s dominant win), Ricky has to be given a real chance against the bigger names of the sport.
For the time being, though, the hero of Coatbridge and beyond can look back at 2010 with tremendous satisfaction. Can 2011 possibly top the 12 months he has just had?
Other fights on the card:
Alex Arthur dec 8 Jay Morris
Callum Johnson TKO 2 Phillip Townley
Joseph Laryea SD 12 Paul Appleby