Take a look at Ricky Burns when he steps through the ropes – the ‘who you’re looking at?’ stare, the No. 1 haircut, the ripped 5-foot-10 body covered with tattoos – and you might be tempted to think you’re looking at the archetypical Glaswegian hardman.
This is a city that has produced its fair share of heavy-drinking, street-fighting nutters – from Benny Lynch to Scott Harrison – and it is a part of the country with the lowest life expectancy in Britain, and the highest rate of alcoholism.
Having grown up in Coatbridge, a working class feeder town on the outskirts of Glasgow, you might think that this unforgiving city would have left some of its harsher marks on the junior lightweight titleholder, but somehow he managed to avoid all this.
Speaking to THE RING, he comes across as impeccably polite in a quietly enthusiastic way. He’s a family man whose life revolves around his fiancée, Amanda, his close-knit family, his dog and his X-box (to which he often devotes several hours of the day). He barely drinks (and admits he can’t hold it), never goes clubbing and says he has never had a street fight in his life.
But now that his slow-burning boxing career has finally taken off, he is allowing himself to think beyond hearth and home.
Having tasted title-winning success, he wants more. Specifically, he wants The Ring championship belt and is throwing his all into a campaign to seize it.
“I always read The Ring and I noticed that I was rated No. 2 and that No. 1 was Mzonke Fana, the IBF champion, so that meant that if I fought and beat Fana, I would not only become a double title holder, but also the world champion and the holder of The Ring belt, which would be a dream come true for me.”
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