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23 JULY 2014

 

Ricky Burns Exclusive: My Preference is Adrien Broner


Burns took the world title from Roman Martinez
Burns took the world title from Roman Martinez

By Tom Gray: Over the last two days Ricky Burns has been on the end of some real scrutiny, fired freely, by armchair fans and media.  Many have said the WBO Super Featherweight Champion is purposefully avoiding a dangerous mandatory assignment against US star, Adrien Broner, and that a potential jump to lightweight is merely an escape route.

This reporter met Ricky on Wednesday, prior to a workout, and he was anxious to tell friend and foe, who is on his wish list.

The following is a transcript of the interview in full:


TG: What have you been doing since your victory over Nicky Cook in July?

RB: I took some time out but I’ve been back in the gym for the last few weeks.  I sparred with Gavin Rees, who’s due to fight Derry Matthews, and I have also been helping out Paul Appleby, who meets Liam Walsh for the Commonwealth title.  I think people are going to see a big improvement in Paul Appleby and I can see him ripping the title away from Walsh.

TG:         I understand that your next step is still pending.  Last week it looked almost certain that it would be American mandatory, Adrien Broner, and now there is a potential move to lightweight.  Why the sudden change?

RB:         To this point I’m still a super featherweight.  Broner’s team spoke to Frank Warren, and then decided to announce a date, without confirming anything with us.  I’m still waiting!  When I heard Broner was my mandatory I was more than happy to go over to America and fight him; he’s a big name, a great fighter and I need fights like this to get my name out there.  Lightweight has been mentioned, by Frank Warren and Alex Morrison, so we need to sit down and discuss our options.

TG:         The Broner fight provides a lucrative payday and HBO exposure in the States.  You have been craving fights of this magnitude since you won the title last year.  You must be desperate for it?

RB:         Broner is a great fighter and I have said repeatedly that I would never duck anyone in my career because I want the big fights.  When you look at the top ten, these are the guys that I’m meant to be up against.  Although I’ve taken some stick for recent title defences, people need to realise, none of them were my choice.  Having said that my mandatory is Adrien Broner and that is a fight I am really up for.

TG:         Could you make super featherweight and still perform at your best?

RB:         Every boxer is the same and that last couple of pounds is really difficult.  I make lightweight easy and, if the move were to happen, then I could bulk up a bit and I’d be a lot stronger but for now I am perfectly happy at super featherweight.


TG:         Juan Manuel Marquez is WBO lightweight champion, but he is due to fight Manny Pacquiao, all the way up at welterweight.  Robert Guerrero is interim champion but he is injured and was heading north to junior welter.  Has there been any word on appealing to the WBO to make the lightweight title vacant?

RB:         I’m just waiting for now and we are still talking to Broner’s camp at the moment.  My team is keeping the options open for me and big fights at lightweight have also been mentioned.  Hopefully, over the next few days, this should all be sorted out.

TG:         Kevin Mitchell has a high rating with the WBO at lightweight.  You apparently sat down with your team on Wednesday.  Was his name mentioned?

RB:         Kevin Mitchell and Michael Katsidis have been mentioned.  They are both big fights and I would be up for either one of them but it depends what title is on the line.  If it was for the WBO lightweight title, or even the interim, then I would fight either of these guys.

TG:         Ideally Ricky, what do you want to happen?  You must have a preference?

RB:         My preference is to go over to America and fight Broner.  It’s a bigger fight and it gets my name out there.  If I go over to the States, do a job on him, then it sets me up for even bigger fights down the road, so what more could I ask for?  I’ve always said that I would love to see my name up in lights, in Las Vegas, and that is still an option for me.
 
TG:         Are you able to say to your promotional or managerial team; “make this fight, whatever it takes?”

RB:         I’ve been doing that my whole career.  I wanted to fight Mzonke Fana because he was ranked number one by Ring Magazine and I want that belt.  Whether it was Adrien Broner, or anyone else in the top ten, I would have been pushing to fight any of them.  We’ll just need to see what happens in the next few days.

TG:         How is your physical conditioning at the moment and what stage are you at in terms of training?

RB:         I’m due to fight in November, I believe, which is eight or nine weeks away.  I’m ticking over well and today I’m doing eight rounds with Paul Appleby.  When I get word on the opponent, then it will be time to get the head down.

TG:         Have you any words for your fans that are waiting for the next move? 

RB:         When the Broner fight was announced and the US was mentioned, my phone rang off the hook, and I would take such a big crowd over there.  Let’s see what happens but either way I will be in a big fight.


After interviewing the champion I was approached by trainer, Billy Nelson; “I want Ricky in the lightweight division, and you can quote me on that!”  This is the third time “The Admiral” has mentioned a move to lightweight, in conversation with this reporter, since December of last year.



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