Harry Pratt

Burns to defend WBO title against Mitchell

Ricky Burns will defend his WBO lightweight title against English rival Kevin Mitchell, in his home city of Glasgow, Scotland, on September 22, with the venue to be confirmed.

Burns (34-2, 9 knockouts) and Mitchell (33-1, 24 KOs) are ranked third and fourth, respectively, in THE RING’s 135-pound ratings, making their showdown later this summer highly-anticipated well beyond British shores.

Certainly, titleholder Burns reckons the timing of the meeting is perfect in that respect and is promising his army of fans north of the border another evening of spectacular entertainment.

“I’m in this sport to prove I’m the best. Next to me, Mitchell’s the best around and it will be a great fight between two warriors” said the 29-year-old from Coatbridge, who produced a stunning first defense in February with a unanimous decision over Namibian dangerman Paulus Moses.

“The fight’s been on the boil for the last couple of years and the fans and press have been desperate for it to happen. It’s fantastic that it’s on at last – and that we are both at the top of our game. Mitchell put on a great showing against John Murray last year. To take apart another champion showed just how good a boxer he is.

“He’s going to bring out the best in me and I believe that the fans are going to be in for an unbelievable fight.”

That respect is very much mutual. Mitchell, 27, whose seventh round win over countryman Murray 11 months ago was voted British Fight of the Year, expects the action in Burns’ backyard to be every bit as gripping. He is also confident of toppling the former WBO junior lightweight holder.

“I rate Burns very highly, he’s a great fighter and has really proved himself as one of the top champions in the world,” said the Dagenham Destroyer, whose only defeat came two years ago to Aussie Michael Katsidis.

“This is a real fight between the two best in the division and it’s not going to be for the faint-hearted.I’m promising you now you’re going to see the best fight of the year or, any year.

“I’m going into the Lion’s Den but I know I can beat him and take the world title. Burns is a top kid and I’ve got to be at the top of my game – the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been in my life – to win.”

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