Ricky burns survives a late scare to retain his WBA light-Welterweight title via points decision against Kiryl Relikh.
“i said we were expecting a hard twelve rounds and that’s what we got tonight”. Said Ricky Burns.
Relikh channeled trainer Ricky Hatton in the opening round slipping shots as he pressed forward with the attack.Ricky was on his toes from the outset but was missing with the jab.
However Burns showed his will and adaptability as he began to fight more aggressively landing the right hand behind the inaccurate jab. Relikh continued his march forward but was ill effective as the Scot caught shots on the gloves.
The Scotsman perhaps won the fight in the middle rounds as he began to find his accuracy. Relikh had abandoned much of his earlier head movement which allowed Burns to land the jab.
The Belorussian appeared ragged and frustrated in round nine as the champion continued to move and land the 1-2. He did well to escape a point deduction after being heavily warned for using the shoulder inside.
The end of round ten spelled the start of the panic for the Scottish crowd. Caught by a big left hook and covering up against the ropes Rickster was hurt by multiple body shots which had the champion holding on to survive the round.
Burns came back strong to start round eleven pressing the attack but again was forced to hang on at the end of the round as Relikh pushed for the knockout.
It was much of the same in the final round.Ricky started well behind his jab and superior boxing skills but seemed to wilt towards the end. Hurt and threatening to fold under body shots the crowd roared Burns on as he was forced to hold and dig deep to hear the final bell.
It was a hard fought points decision for Burns who (according to the post fight interview) had to endure a perforated ear drum in round seven.
As a mega fight looms with American Adrian Broner it is apparent that the champion will have to raise his game to even remain competitive.If indeed the fight happens.