Scottish Amateur And Professional Boxing
Ricky Burns stepped up a weight at less than a week's notice and scored a sensational points win against unbeaten British Lightweight Champion, Graham Earl, at the Wembley Conference Centre last night .
Burns has now won ten in a row as a professional, but Earl's name on his record makes for a fantastic start to 2005 with the prospect of domestic title glory a big step nearer now.
From the off, the 21 year old from Coatbridge flicked his left glove at Earl and his classic jab and move style was more than enough to frustrate the Champion over the eight round contest.
Burns used the ring to maximum advantage as Earl came at him in the earlier rounds, but the faster more accurate punches were being landed by the Scotsman - including a peach of a body shot in the second to bang home the message that Burns was here to win not just to give Earl a public workout..
In the third and fourth, Earl attempted to step things up, moving in closer against his taller opponent, but his single punch attacks were largely hitting air or leather and even on the inside Burns looked sharper.
This was only Ricky Burns' second contest over eight rounds and there was always the fear that he would fade against the more experienced Earl as the fight went on. In the fifth it looked as if he was indeed tiring and despite countering well, this was one of only two rounds that I thought Earl won.
In the sixth, it was Ricky who found the extra gear. Earl attempted to build on his success in the fifth, but found Burns not only as elusive as ever when he wanted to be, but now also willing to trade punches when the opportunity arose. And again, it was Burns who looked the sharper boxer, with Earl unable to raise his game.
In the seventh, Burns still looked fresh, making good use of the ring and catching Earl with some decent rights. At one point, Earl was made to miss so badly that he almost exited the ring, such was the ring skill being displayed by Burns.
Going into the eighth, Earl really needed to stop Burns if he was to preserve his unbeaten record as a pro, but it was Burns who shined behind his left jab, even rocking Earl with some superb punching, to take yet another round.
Fior what it's worth I had Ricky Burns the winner by 78 points to 75, but such is boxing today I thought Earl might still get the decision. He was expected to win, he was boxing in front of his own fans and he had a lucrative British and Commonwealth title fight against Kevin Bennett already lined up for next month.
Full credit then to referee Richie Davies who awarded the fight to Ricky Burns by a margin of 79 points to 75. It was a richly deserved victory and one that underlines the depth of talent that Scotland has at the moment at Super Featherweight.
Respect too to Graham Earl who took the defeat graciously and had nothing but praise for the Coatbridge youngster. "I had no snap there tonight, but he stepped up to the table, fought a good fight, came in at late notice even. I'm not going to take anything away from him."
Ricky Burns is still a novice in professional boxing terms and far from the finished article. He looked very well schooled against Graham Earl who can blow hot and cold performance-wise, but Ricky does have a habit of lifting his chin which could prove costly. But that's all for another day. He took what was seen as a big step up in class to fight a British Champion and he delivered the goods. An excellent performance.
Afterwards, Burns dismissed talk of fighting Earl again for the British Lightweight title, and instead said he wants to continue to build his career at his natural weight of Super Feather. "I'm ready to take on anyone in the top ten Super Featherweight, Alex Arthur, Craig Docherty, Michael Gomez."
Craig Lynch took big hitting Martin Concepcion the distance over six rounds on the same Wembley card, but lost the fight 59-54 on points.
Unbeaten Concepcion had Lynch down in the second and hurt him again in the fifth, but if the Leicester prospect thought he was in for yet another early night he was wrong. In fact at times Lynch left Concepcion hitting thin air and landed some good shots of his own.
In the fourth, Lynch caught Concepcion who appeared to touch down, but the referee did not count it as a knockdown.
Despite the defeat, it was another solid performance from Lynch who now has 16 losses on his 21 fight record. That says more about the quality of opponent he has fought than his boxing skills however because Lynch is all too often cast as the journeyman opponent for up and coming or top domestic opposition.
Top of the bill may have been the crude brawl between Matt Skelton and his seriously out of condition Argentine opponent, but there's no doubt who the night belonged to. Ricky Burns with the performance of the year so far from a Scottish boxer.Posted by scottish-boxing at February 26, 2005 10:44 AM