LONDON, England – Scotland’s Ricky Burns made a successful first defense of his World Boxing Association junior welterweight title with a hard-fought points win over Kiryl Relikh in Glasgow on Friday, October 7.
Victory took Burns, 33, closer to a clash with American 4-weight champion Adrien Broner.
But he did not have things all his own way before prevailing 118-110, 116-112, 116-112 on the 3 judges’ scorecards for a unanimous points decision.
The fight was made all the more emotional for Burns and his legion of fans after it was announced Wednesday that all money from remaining ticket sales would be donated to the family of dead boxer Mike Towell.
Towell died in hospital last Friday after being stretchered from the ring in Glasgow the previous day.
Belarus boxer Relikh, coached by former world champion Ricky Hatton, made a strong start as he fully justified his pre-fight record of 19 knockouts in 21 wins.
But a straight right by Burns that landed on the 26-year-old Relikh towards the end of the fourth round brought forth cheers from the crowd.
The resilient Relikh kept pursuing Burns and he landed with a couple of heavy punches in the 10th round.
Three-weight world champion Burns went down in the 12th and final round, but only due to a slip rather than a punch, and by that stage he had done enough to hold on to the WBA belt.
After the bout, he quickly turned his attention to the prospect of facing Broner in Las Vegas.
“If the money is right, I will fight anyone,” Burns told Sky Sports. “Broner, when he is on his game, is a very good fighter.
“I don’t see the point in going anywhere else. At some point I can get a big fight over there.”
As for his victory over Relikh, Burns conceded: “In the second round he caught me with a couple.
“He could whack. I know people go on about big punchers all the time but there were some punches there – I can hardly lift my hands tonight.
“But we stuck to the game-plan, we stuck to boxing. I got the win and that is the main thing. We move on to the next one.” – Rappler.com