SCOTLAND saw its first three-weight world boxing champion crowned on the same weekend that Liverpool added a new title holder to its already impressive ranks.
A raucous Glasgow crowd spurred Ricky Burns onto a 8th round stoppage of Italy’s Michele di Rocco for the WBA light-welter weight title at 140 pounds, following on from triumphs at super-featherweight and lightweight to see the Coatbridge fighter make history.
Burns has endured a rough run of late, with upset losses, a broken jaw, bankruptcy following a promotional dispute, and found himself once again written off by the boxing media.
“All my team, they all know what this meant to me. Obviously, after everything that has happened, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom showed faith in me, delivered this big fight, it couldn’t get any bigger,” he said.
The 140 division runs deep with talent at present and Burns could face difficult but lucrative bouts with Adrian Broner or Terence Crawford, who outclassed him in 2014. An interesting possibility is a domestic dust up with Mancunian lightweight champion Anthony Crolla, which would see two of the best-liked fighters in Britain compete in what could be a great send off for the 31-year-old veteran.
On Sunday, Tony Bellew realised his dream of fighting at Everton’s Goodison Park and took his opportunity with both fists, knocking out Congolese strongman Ilunga Makabu in the third, having risen himself from a flash knockdown in the opening stanza.
With the knockout came the WBC Cruiserweight title and Bellew’s arrival in a stacked 200 pound scene. With previous losses to Welsh rival Nathan Cleverly and Haitian Adonis Stevenson at 175, Bellew looked far more comfortable at a heavier fighting weight, and will relish the opportunity to test his spirit against the likes of Denis Lebvedev.