Boxing: Ricky Burns can expect tough defence against Jose A Gonzalez


There is a case for thinking that the boxing life of Ricky Burns has taken place on undercards, in champion’s backyards and far from the glare and rewards of big fights at home.

The truth, as is often the case in boxing, is far from the distortion of his alleged obscurity, and Burns defends his WBO lightweight title against his mandatory challenger, Jose A Gonzalez, at the Emirates Arena tonight in what will be his fifth world title fight in seven to have taken place in his Glasgow backyard.

Burns, 30, did start his professional career as a roaming fighter, filling in gaps when called and his two defeats in 37 fights came as the visitor in British championship contests; in 2006 Alex Arthur beat him in Edinburgh on a hot night and the following year, at an equally volatile Town Hall in Leeds, he lost on points to Carl Johanneson.

During the last few months Burns has been moved from the sidelines to the centre of attention, something that was often difficult to manoeuvre when his fights needed a bit of glitz, because of his public split with Frank Warren and subsequent high-profile defection to Eddie Hearn. The acrimonious split, which will end up in court, will rumble on and could cost the fighter a fortune in legal fees.

Hearn, who often refers to his style of promoting as “new age”, promised to return Burns to Scotland and get him and his fans a good fight; it has to be said that young Eddie has succeeded with the Gonzalez match. The Puerto Rican is unbeaten in 22 fights, with 17 ending before the last bell, and he is a year younger than Burns. However, it is not exactly “new” because in 2010, at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, Warren imported the unbeaten WBO super-featherweight champion Roman Martinez, who had stopped or knocked out 16 of his 25 opponents. Burns was brilliant on the night and his loyal fans delighted as he won his first world title.

Burns has been an excellent  champion in the ring and a reluctant star outside the ropes, which is a pity because the Martinez win, the Michael Katsidis masterclass and the savagery of the Kevin Mitchell stoppage were all impressive. Burns will need another quality performance to beat Gonzalez and give both his fans and his critics what they have clearly forgotten that they have already had.

Meanwhile, Jamie McDonnell, the British bantamweight champion, will walk out at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium to fight the unbeaten Mexican Julio Ceja for the vacant IBF bantamweight title in the cold tonight. Ceja has knocked out 22 of his 24 victims and if this was taking place in a Bullring at altitude in Puebla then McDonnell would not have a chance. However, fighting at home does odd things to fighters and Burns had even less chance against Martinez.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral