WBO lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns has undergone surgery to repair the broken jaw he sustained in his controversial draw title defense against Raymundo Beltran on Saturday. The injury is career threatening, according to Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn.
Burns (36-2-1, 11 knockouts) somehow retained his WBO belt despite suffering the shattering blow to his face as early as the second round during the 12-round fight in his home city of Glasgow. Burns managed to go the distance, yet most observers felt classy Beltran (28-6-1, 17 KOs), who dropped Burns in round eight, warranted a unanimous decision.
For the battered local favourite there was no time to worry about the controversy surrounding the judges’ scores of 115-112 for him, 113-115 Beltran and 114-114. Burns, clearly in extreme pain, went straight to hospital where tests revealed the initially-suspected dislocated jaw was, in fact, bust badly and required an immediate operation.
Matchroom chief Hearn, who has worked with Burns in the last two of his eight career title fights at 135 and 130 pounds, confirmed that news Sunday afternoon before stating it is impossible at this stage to say if, let alone when, the 30-year-old Coatbridge star will return to action.
“You look at Ricky Burns and he looks more like a choir boy than a fighter but he is one brave kid,” Hearn told BBC Five Live. “But our immediate concern is to make sure he is okay. Everyone is talking about his next move but I can’t even guarantee he will box again at the moment.
“He underwent surgery this morning and he is now sitting up in his hospital bed. He will be there for a couple of days and then we will wait and see how it sets and forms and go from there.
“He’s had titanium plates put in the jaw. It’s a horrific injury to suffer. There have been a few occasions where people have boxed on with broken jaws and other things and I couldn’t imagine anything worse. But they are extraordinary people these fighters and Ricky found the bravery to carry on.
“When I spoke to Beltran last night, he said he could almost hear Ricky crying in clinches when the heads were going on the jaw. It’s unpleasant stuff, but he’s now on the mend.”
Photo / Scott Heavey-Getty Images