Former WBO lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns will have a new trainer in Tony Sims when he returns to action on June 27 against undefeated southpaw Dejan Zlaticanin of Montenegro at Glasgow, Scotland's Braehead Arena live on Sky Sports, Matchroom Sport announced on Monday.
Burns (36-3-1, 11 knockouts) turned 31 in April, a month after having been dethroned as WBO beltholder by unbeaten Terence Crawford via unanimous decision at Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow.
Having successfully defended his lightweight title four times, Burns was back at the site where he fought to a controversial draw against Raymundo Beltran last September. Burns' jaw was badly broken in the fight with Beltran, requiring the surgical implantation of titanium plates.
"I have a real spring in my step for June 27. I had some great nights over the years but I felt after the Crawford fight that it was time for a change and I have definitely got a new lease of life down in Essex with Tony," said Burns of Sims, who trained former IBF middleweight titleholder Darren Barker.
"I fly down on a Monday and work solidly Monday to Friday in the gym and hitting the road, then fly home on a Friday evening. Of course it is tough being away from home but it makes you work harder and gives you something to look forward to."
Under Sims, Burns has worked alongside former rival Kevin Mitchell, whom Burns stopped in the fourth round in September 2012, as well as unbeaten 22-year-old lightweight Martin Joseph Ward and undefeated 2012 Olympic Gold medal star Luke Campbell, another 135-pounder.
"There's top, top class sparring on tap at Tony's gym. I was sparring with Kevin in the build-up to his fight with Ghislain Maduma on the [Carl] Froch vs. [George] Groves [II] bill and also with Martin, who was a float on that card," said Burns, referring earlier to Mitchell's 11th-round knockout victory on May 31.
"Tomorrow, I start some more work with Luke, which is fantastic as he's an incredible talent. There are some huge fights out there for me. My last 10 fights have been for world titles and I am at home in the elite. So I want to get back there as soon as possible."
The 30-year-old Zlaticanin has won four of his past six fights by knockout and was last in action for a first-round stoppage of Asan Yuseinov in August.
"Zlaticanin is unbeaten and will have ambitions of his own," said Burns, "but I want my next fight to be for a world title and I have to put on a great show to earn that."
Burns-Zlaticanin is part of a card that will include junior welterweight Willie Limond (37-4, 10 KOs) pursuing his fourth straight win against Curtis Woodhouse (22-6, 13 KOs) and cruiserweight Stephen Simmons (9-0, 4 KOs) opposite Wadi Camacho (12-2, 8 KOs).