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20 NOVEMBER 2018

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Theophane on Sparring Ricky Burns and the Future

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Theophane
Photo Courtesy of Ashley Theophane

By Tom Gray: Ashley Theophane ventured to the United States a week past on Friday, dominated Ronnie Warrior over eight rounds and returned to the UK to spar with two weight world champion Ricky Burns the following Monday.


Never let it be said that men can’t multi task.


Theophane, the former British light welterweight champion, took on Warrior at 155lbs but will now reconnoitre on a more familiar part of the weight scale.


“I’m going to stay at light welter or welterweight,” stated the talented Londoner. “There are good names in these weight classes and I’ll fight any of them. Lenny Daws is an option if he wins the EU belt (from Ville Piispanenor) in October.”


Never one to under sell himself Theophane, without prompting, then brings up his more famous British counterpart and smiles instantly at the thought of a personal dream fight.


“Amir Khan is going to come back.”


“I’m the perfect option because both of us have a mutual opponent in reigning world champion, Danny Garcia. I lost a split decision to Garcia but Khan was stopped inside four rounds.”


Surprisingly, Theophane does not have any interest in avenging his stunning British title defeat to Darren Hamilton last May and explains his reasons.


“I don’t think I lost that fight,” offered the man nicknamed The Treasure. “Jim Watt at Sky Sports thought I won, as did Boxing News and Boxing Monthly. There have been a lot of dodgy decisions over the last year so there isn’t any point in a rematch.”


“I could go out there, win again and the judges give it to him. There is no way he won that fight by five rounds.”


As Theophane is talking Ricky Burns appears and hands him a custom made t-shirt designed by the Suzi Wong brand. The t-shirt is emblazoned with the champion’s moniker, The Rickster, which Ashley then chants repeatedly to everyone’s amusement.


The moment changes the conversation to the work at hand.


“The sparring with Ricky is the first I’ve had since the Hamilton fight. The work has been great and Ricky is in tremendous shape. It’s an honour to spar with a two weight world champion and Ricky and his team have been the greatest to me.”


I asked Theophane to pinpoint the one asset Burns possesses which will give Kevin Mitchell the most trouble when the paid collide at the SECC in Glasgow on September 22nd.


“Ricky’s fitness is his biggest asset.”


“I’m known for my fitness but I can understand why a lot of fighters aren’t able to hang with him. Ricky may only have nine knockouts but I wouldn’t be surprised if he stops Kevin.”


“His fitness is on another level and he’s stronger than what people think.”


On breaking down the match up Theophane feels that opposition faced and experience will be the big factors in deciding the outcome.


“You have to look at both boxers and assess what they’ve done,” shrugs the thirty two year old. “Ricky has been at world level and always stepped it up. Kevin, on the other hand, may have beaten the likes of Breidis Prescott and John Murray but I don’t think either of them are world class.”


Theophane then leaves the door open for his countryman when he touches on the age old rivalry.


“If you look at the tale of the tape you have to go with Ricky but in British fights the rule book sometimes goes out the window. It’s Scotland versus England and anything can happen.”



Burns v Mitchell will be Live and Exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) on Saturday 22nd September. Join at


Tickets, priced at £50, £75, £100, £150 and £200, are available from Eventim on 0844 249 1000 or online at and Ticket Soup on 0844 295 4000 or


Follow Tom Gray on Twitter @Tom_Gray_Boxing

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