Boxing: Burns set for March ring return

Ricky Burns will defend his WBO lightweight title against unbeaten American Terence Crawford at Glasgow's SECC on March 1.

Ricky Burns

The Coatbridge champion, 30, returns to the ring for the first time since breaking his jaw in the controversial draw against Ray Beltran last September which allowed him to keep his belt.

Such was the damage done to the popular Scot that when promoter Eddie Hearn left hospital afterwards he was "sure that was it for Ricky Burns," with the fighter admitting he was no more assured.

Speaking at a press conference in Glasgow on Monday, which had earlier turned ugly when undercard fighters Stephen Simmons and Wadi Camacho became embroiled in a vitriolic slanging match, Burns said: "When the surgeons are talking to you, when you see the X-rays, obviously it is going to be in the back of your mind; 'what if I can't fight again, what if it happened again?'

"But once we knew the bone was knitting together, that went out the window.

"The first spar is over with, it has been tested once or twice and the jaw feels fine.

"I have been boxing for 18 years, that was my first serious injury so let's hope it is the last."

While most observers, as well as Burns, wanted a rematch against Beltran, Hearn explained that they were left with no option but to take on mandatory challenger Crawford.

"Beltran might get his chance in the fight after this fight but Top Rank represent both fighters and they made it clear which fighter they want to fight Ricky Burns," he said.

"Such is Crawford's level, I don't think Ricky can be criticised for not fighting Beltran, it is what he wanted to do but it was not possible.

"Ricky took a lot of unnecessary stick over the Beltran fight. He broke his jaw in round two.

"I felt he lost the fight but he was given a draw. But it is not his fault. He had to endure a tremendous amount of pain during that fight but he got through it.

"Crawford is a much better fighter than Beltran and this is a much tougher fight."



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