Ricky Burns becomes three-weight world champion after knocking out Michele Di Rocco to win WBA super-featherweight title

Burns claimed the vacant title with an eighth-round stoppage

Ronnie Esplin
Saturday 28 May 2016 23:51
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Ricky Burns celebrates winning the WBA super-featherweight title
Ricky Burns celebrates winning the WBA super-featherweight title

Ricky Burns made history by becoming Scotland's first three-weight world champion by beating Michele Di Rocco for the vacant WBA super-lightweight title at Glasgow's SSE Hydro.

In front of an excited and partisan crowd the 33-year-old from Coatbridge rolled back the years with an all-action performance and decked the 34-year-old Italian in the eighth round, leaving him in no state to continue according to referee Terry O'Connor.

It was the first time Burns, a former WBO super-featherweight and lightweight champion, had fought in the city since losing to Dejan Zlaticanin in June 2014 and it was a super return from a man who had lost three of his previous last six bouts.

The white-hot atmosphere inside the arena, hosting its first professional boxing event, inspired Burns into the first round and he had his opponent in trouble in the early exchanges, staggering him with a smart left-hand.

The Italian steadied himself but Burns, sprightly on his feet, was finding joy with his jabs and the occasional right-hand which had the crowd in raptures.

Di Rocco was given a time-out in third after appearing to take a low blow but Burns was right in his face again when the action continued.

The Italian was given an eight count near the end of the round although it seemed a push put him down after taking a right and left.

Burns' aggression was paying dividends against an opponent who appeared somewhat taken aback with what he was facing.

Ricky Burns knocks out Michele Di Rocco

Round five saw Burns quickly pin Di Rocco in the corner with another fast and furious flurry but the contest took a breather.

Di Rocco started the sixth round positively and the Scot's defence was tested although near the end he delivered a thunderous right-hand which snapped back the head of the older man.

An absorbing contest continued.

Both boxers swapped punches and Di Rocco began to catch the eye with his work rate.

But Burns, strong and relentless, regained control in round eight and had his man in trouble several times before flooring him with a right-hand with Di Rocco unable to go on, the crowd going wild at witnessing a remarkable achievement.
PA

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