Boxing: Dominant Burns makes it a night to remember

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The Independent Online

Burns' night came seven weeks early for Ricky scion of that clan with a successful first defence of his WBO super featherweight title at Glasgow's Braehead Arena.

His unanimous points victory over Colombian-born Norwegian Andreas Evensen secured his place in Britain's current quartet of world champions and underlined his growing reputation as the new power of Scotland.

Although the 27-year-old from Coatbridge was a comprehensive winner on the scorecards of all three judges, (119-108, 119-108, 118-109) it was not the easiest of nights. Evensen, adopted by Norwegian parents and schooled fistically in Cuba, never gave ground swarming forward incessantly.

But, as Burns said afterwards, he stuck to his game plan, boxing methodically and mixing his attack intelligently, tactics which drew a nod of approval from former world champion, Naseem Hamed watching at ringside. Unfortunately Burns lacks Hamed's finishing punch.

It had looked as if it might be a quick finish when, in the first ten seconds, Burns caught Evensen with a right to the top of the head which saw him touch down for a brief count. Burns did not follow this up and seemed content to box his way to victory over 12 rounds during which Evensen grew in confidence without having the Scot in trouble. Burns showed touches of the artistry which had brought him a remarkable win over the previously unbeaten Roman Martinez in an epic battle when he won the title three months ago.

With pro boxing outlawed in Norway, Evensen was used to being one of boxing's travelling men, but his previous excursions could not have prepared him for the atmosphere in Burns' back yard. He suffered only his second defeat against an opponent with superior all-round technique.

"I knew he was going to be aggressive," Burns said. "He kept on coming but he never really hurt me even though something didn't quite click for me tonight. But a win's a win."

A win, too, for fellow Scot Callum Johnson, the Commonwealth Games light heavyweight gold medallist who is Hamed's managerial signing. Johnson stopped Phillip Townley in two rounds.

Paul Appleby, another Scottish super featherweight with hopes of a world title shot, has to put that ambition on hold. The 20-1 on favourite he lost his bid for the vacant WBO Intercontinental crown on a split decision to Ghanaian Joseph Laryea after a disappointing performance.

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