Harry Pratt

Burns retains WBO lightweight title with class

Ricky Burns delivered a masterclass in front of 6,000 home fans in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday, as he defended his WBO lightweight title with a one-sided unanimous points victory over dangerous Namibian Paulus Moses.

Apart from a brief spell midway through the contest, the 28-year-old Scot rarely looked in trouble against hard-hitting former WBC holder Moses, who had started the night sixth in THE RING’s 135-pound rankings and one place above Burns.

The judges scorecards read 119-110, 120-110, 117-111 in Burns’ favour and underlined his overall superiority on a memorable evening at the sold-out Braehead Arena. The RING had Burns winning 118-110.

It was a tough, tough fight. He had 19 knockouts and could punch. He caught me with a few but I really enjoyed it. I was ready for a hard fight – and again it’s another good 12 rounds in the tank, ” said Burns (34-2, 9 knockouts). “Thanks to everyone who has come out tonight. The response for tickets was unbelievable and I just hope they enjoyed it.”

The talk is that Burns, who gets married next month, will now meet English contender Kevin Mitchell.

I’m prepared to fight anybody they put in front of me. Everybody knows that I’m a quiet guy, that I like to keep myself to myself, ” said the former junior lightweight holder from Coatbridge. “I‘m flying to Mexico to get married on April 30. When I get back we will sit down and think about what’s next.“

Burns may have looked as relaxed and chilled as they come before the first bell but the man sporting pink gloves produced a lethal opening three minutes of action. Quick, accurate jabs, followed by the occasional rights to the body and head enabled him to assume immediate control.

Moses, though, with a wealth of experience, including taking the WBA title from Takehiro Shimada in Japan three years ago, was not to be easily overawed. In the second and third, the southwest African demonstrated that he was both busy enough and quick enough to trouble his opponent.

But Burns took both rounds, as well as the fourth, even if they were tight affairs. However, the next was a very different story. The challenger started to connect, and one body punch in particular visibly forced Burns to draw a deep breath and a step back. A relatively smooth first defense suddenly seemed that it might be turning tricky and that pattern continued throughout the sixth.

The momentum, though, never fully swung the way of 33-year-old Moses, who works as a policeman back in his homeland. By the end of the ninth, Burns had regained complete control of proceedings. As the action became scrappier, he became the aggressor once again, almost without fail beating Moses to the first jab and then launching excellent combination attacks.

Not that an increasingly frustrated Moses did not remain a threat. But on the rare occasions Burns was caught, he took the shot and then responded with his own and more.

Only a knockdown was going to spare Moses a second career defeat in 29 outings as we entered the closing three minutes. It never materialized, Burns soaking up whatever was thrown his way to ensure his impressive climb up the lightweight ladder continues at pace.

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