Boxing: Ricky Burns rips up the form book again to assert world class

 

Ricky Burns has started to ask questions in the ring that his opponents simply have no answer to and on Saturday night in Glasgow, in front of 10,000 avid fans, Kevin Mitchell folded in the fourth round of their WBO lightweight fight.

Burns steadily increased the pace, edged closer with each attack and started to put more power in his punches as the minutes and rounds transformed a 50-50 fight into a massacre, leaving Mitchell a stumbling wreck and his career once again open to debate.

"He covered so much ground," said Mitchell, the shock and pain of the double knockdown in round four still fresh in his eyes. "I never planned to stand and trade punches with him, I should have tucked up more, but I had no choice, he was brilliant."

Mitchell is still a potential force at the weight, which is why he plans to fight again in November, but as midnight approached on Saturday night he remained genuinely shocked. "I never underestimated him, I had the respect. He is just so much better than I thought."

Burns denied that he had been dismissive of Mitchell inside the ring, a stage lifted by the presence of so many passionate fans at the SECC in Glasgow, and praised his friend's bravery. However, the reality is that Burns opted to walk through the best of Mitchell's punches from the opening bell, clubbing with wild and short punches until a sweet left hook lifted the Londoner off his feet in the fourth.

It was, in the end, a chilling destruction, made even more impressive by just how unexpected it was in a round that the bookies had marked as wide as 60-1 for a Burns stoppage.

Mitchell possibly won the opener before Burns made an adjustment in his feet, he moved them closer, and in his punches, he threw them wider, to deny the London fighter any room to move. It worked and with the space in the ring diminishing each time Burns stepped in, Mitchell was forced to stand and fight, drop his tactics and wait for the inevitable.

It was the latest and most impressive win in a series of world championship fights that Burns was either expected to lose or, at best, sneak after a tight 12 rounds of boxing. He has repeatedly made a mockery of the form book, the experts and the bookies, which is a major part of his attraction; he also works weekends in a local sports shop and famously celebrates his world title wins with a blow-out trip to Nando's.

Burns, who is 29, started out on the wrong side of the boxing tracks, progressing from obscure fights and defeats in domestic championship contests on the road, to become the most unlikely of current world champions. "I just seem to be getting better and better," he offered, but his change resembles an explosion, a blossoming of skills, rather than the acquisition of a few extra nifty moves and a crafty left hook. Burns is arguably the best lightweight in the world right now and is certainly the most popular.

Too often in modern boxing we look at the swift progress, courtesy of handpicked opposition, of British prospects and measure their success by the triple deceits of an unbeaten record, the baubles won and their bold talk. Burns, like Scotland's world lightweight champions Jim Watt and Ken Buchanan, the men he follows in history, has become world champion without the excessive protection that can so damage a fighter's development.

Burns will fight again in December and by then there is every chance that he will be closing in on a unification fight and moving ever closer to the type of recognition and respect that some fighters have to earn again and again. "He sure can fight and these fans sure can make some noise," claimed Michael Buffer, the iconic ring announcer, who was on duty in Glasgow. "The kid's not a secret anymore." You could say, Burns is ready to rumble.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Assessor

£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...

Year 6 Teacher needed for 1 Term- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Year 6 larger then life teach...

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: SEN Jobs Available Devon

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering