Harry Pratt

Burns to defend title against Cook

Junior lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns will meet former champion Nicky Cook in an all-British clash July 16 at the Liverpool Echo Arena.

It will be the Scottish star’s third defense of the WBO belt, who despite failing to lure another of the division's current titleholders into a unification bout, insists he is more than happy to be facing the 31-year-old Englishman.

"There's always something special in the air when England and Scotland clash," said Burns, 28. "This fight will be no different. I've not had a defense against a domestic opponent yet, so I am relishing this one."

Cook beat another Scot, Alex Arthur, to claim the WBO crown in September 2008, but lost it the following year to Puerto Rican Roman Martinez, who was then toppled by Burns.

"The only way to heal the pain from that night with Martinez is to beat Burns. He has done well as champion but I'm going there all guns blazing to win my old belt back," said the injury-prone Cook, who overcame Youssef Al Hamidi in six rounds last Saturday.

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