Boxing: Ricky Burns retains WBO lightweight title after controversial draw with Mexican Raymundo Beltran

 

Ricky Burns retained his WBO lightweight title after a controversial draw against Raymundo Beltran at the SECC in Glasgow.

The 30-year-old Coatbridge fighter, making his fourth defence of his belt, was floored in the eighth round of a contest he never really looked like he was winning.

But one judge gave Burns the verdict by 115-112, another gave it to Beltran by 115 -113 and there was an audible gasp inside the arena when it was announced the third judge had scored it 114 each, with even the champion, who apparently dislocated his jaw in the second round, looking apologetic.

The 32-year-old Mexican, a former sparring partner of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, appeared to control most of the fight with tireless aggression and will surely wonder what he had to do to win.

Both boxers had their moments in a first round which promised an enthralling encounter.

Burns found joy in the second with his left jab but his experienced opponent was not fazed and came out on top in several exchanges.

Beltran kept coming forward, pinning the champion against the ropes at times with powerful flurries.

Burns went staggering back after a powerful left hook and did well to survive the punishment he took for the rest of the fourth round as the crowd tried to rally their hero.

Beltran came out for the start of round five sensing the fight was there for the taking and kept Burns on the ropes as he pummelled away at the Scotsman.

Burns could not get into top gear as he was forced into some desperate defensive work on the back foot.

A left hook in the sixth from Burns had his fans cheering again and he got some good shots in during the seventh as Beltran went backwards probably for the first time.

It was an encouraging sign for the champion but he had to take a standing count in the eighth after being sent crashing to the canvas by a left hook.

Burns was clearly in trouble and had to use all his survival skills to get back to his stool.

The crowd tried again to energise Burns but he was coming second in the exchanges at the times he was not back on the ropes

The home fighter needed to dig deep in the latter stages, showing his undoubted determination and courage but there was still huge surprise when the draw was called.

Beltran was emotional but articulate afterwards and strongly accused people in the sport of having ulterior motives and of looking after their own business interests.

Asked if he felt he had won the fight, Beltran told Sky Sports: “Yes I do, absolutely.”

On why he was not given the nod, the Mexican said: “”Politics, always the same thing in boxing. There is money involved, it is business, every time they have a chance to protect their investment they do it. They play with the business, they have the power.

“If I got beat I got beat, I've been getting robbed every time. It is just so frustrating, there is so much sacrifice. We put ourselves on the line. But it is business.”

The 23-year-old said he would consider a rematch but called for it to take place in the United States, adding: “I fight anybody but I want to fight in a fair place, I want to fight in America.

“Let's do it in America, I think I deserve a chance. Let's go to America and have a fight there - I am a champion.”

Turning to the fight, Beltran admitted he knew Burns was injured in some way but he constantly kept returning to his conviction he had won the fight. “He was trying to be defensive,” he added.

“I heard he was going 'agh' with the pain. He is very brave. But I think I did everything I had to do to win the fight.

“It was horrible, he was holding too much. Everything was against me, it always is. In the people's eyes I am world champion.”

Burns revealed he had suffered a dislocated jaw early in the fight and he told Sky Sports: “What a fight that was - I take my hat off to Raymundo.

“I don't know how I got through that, I can hardly string two words together out here.

“I knew it was close: I was trying to stick to my jab. He was coming in swinging. I was worried about getting caught on the jaw again, when I did the pain was incredible.

“I'll get this jaw sorted and maybe me and Raymundo can do it again. I would have liked to have gone out there and put on a better performance.

“From the end of the fourth I was more concentrated on not getting my jaw hit.

“I take my hat off to him it was a good shot (in the eighth) but when I got up I was fine.”

PA

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