AMERICA CALLING ONCE AGAIN FOR BURNS?
Ricky Burns (40:5:1) will once again carry the pressure of keeping big time boxing in his native Scotland when he defends his WBA Super Lightweight World title against unbeaten Belorussian Kiryl Relikh (21:0) on Friday night at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow.
Burns comes into the contest off the back of three straight stoppage wins. The latest of which came in the 8th session to claim the vacant WBA strap against Italian Michelle Di Rocco, who in truth did not deserve to be in the ring with Burns never mind challenge for world honours.
However Relikh a relatively unknown challenger to many comes in with an untarnished record of 21 from 21, 19 of those coming by way of stoppage. But in Ricky he faces a man who has never been stopped in 46 contests. Tipped for greatness by promoter Ricky Hatton, he has the experience of fighting three times on these shores none of which will have prepared him for the cauldron of noise a partisan Scottish crowd will serve to him before he even reaches the ring.
The young Belorussian will have to prove his credentials against a battle hardened warrior in ‘Rickster’ who has gone 12 rounds on 12 occasions compared to his opponents zero. One would have to expect a Burns victory as he holds all the cards in terms of experience, the crowd and the financially lucrative fight against American Adrian Broner if he does as expected.
I would expect the Scotsman to ware down his opponent before forcing a stoppage in the later rounds. Although the relatively unknown Relikh could shock us all and silence what is assured to be a rapturous Glasgow crowd.
DILLIAN WHYTE VS IAN LEWISON
The British Heavyweight Title will be on the line when Brixton natives Dillian Whyte (18;1) and Ian Lewison (12:2:1) collide.
Both men contributed to serve up a fiery press conference last week which threatened to boil over when a war of words and local hostilities and pride surfaced, both men had to be restrained to ensure the fight would take place in the ring.
Whyte widely known for his exciting bout with Anthony Joshua is favourite to claim the Lord Lonsdale strap after he showed another side to his game last time out with an assured boxing clinic to claim a wide points win over Dave Allen, after beginning to work under the watchful eye of Mark Tibbs. While Lewison seven years Whyte’s elder comes into the contest on the back of an impressive two round demolition of an unbeaten Chinese prospect.
Even with a the flurry of both men promising to knock each other out within two rounds I expect Whyte to take his opponent who hasn’t been past four rounds into uncharted waters using his superior boxing skills before either winning wide on points or stopping his man late in the bout.
ALSO ON THE UNDERCARD
Scott Cardle (20:0:1) defends his British Lightweight title in front of a home crowd against Grimsby’s Kevin Hooper (19:3:0). Cardle will be expected to retain his belt on points.
On a card heavily dominated by local Scottish prospects natives; Joe Ham, Lewis Paulin, Scott McCormack, Kieran Smith and Stuart Burt will all see action over 4 and 6 round distances.