After a hat-trick of successful title defenses, Ricky Burns, the WBO junior lightweight holder, has set his sights on boxing’s ultimate prize.
Above all else, the Scottish star, 28, dreams of being crowned The RING champion and is demanding a showdown with South African and top ranked junior lightweight, Mzonke Fana (30-4, 12 knockouts).
Burns delivered his message loud and clear following an unsatisfactory first-round stoppage of crocked Englishman Nicky Cook in Liverpool at the weekend.
"We all know the fight I want. I would love to fight for that RING magazine belt, “ said Burns (32-2, 9 KOs). “Mzonke Fana is still number one and I am number two. I’ll leave it to promoter Frank Warren and manager Alex Morrison and, hopefully, we can get it sorted.
““We've been talking about Fana ever since I beat Roman Martinez to win the WBO title so I've got my fingers crossed that we can pull it off. It would be a dream come true fighting for that belt because it's the belt I've always wanted.”
Seventeen wins on the bounce suggests the man from Coatbridge, who is self-confessed fanatic of the sport’s illustrious history, is well on course to fulfilling that life-long ambition.
For while a career-threatening back injury meant Cook, 31, was in no fit state to face Burns on Saturday at the Echo Arena, Merseyside, that was no fault of the beltholder.
The real shame was Cook’s crippling condition, which saw him collapse after 15 seconds, knocked down three times inside two minutes and carried from the ring on a stretcher, robbed Burns of the chance to showcase his busy talents to a wider audience.
“I am just sorry for everyone who had travelled down and, obviously, I am very disappointed that I wasn’t able to get more rounds in,” he said. "I was prepared for 12 hard rounds and I was going to keep the pressure on from the start and when I got the chance I was going to be burying the body shots."
His time will come, though. Sooner rather than later, according to Warren.
“Now we have to move onto the future and look to get some unification fights for Ricky,” said the UK promoter, who also angrily disputed claims that 31-year-old former titleholder Cook (30-3, 16 KOs) was not a legitimate opponent.