By Alistair Hendrie
Lightweight Ricky Burns 36-3-1 (11) aims to make a fresh start to his career when he contests the WBC International lightweight title against Dejan Zlaticani on Friday at the Braehead Arena, Glasgow.
Burns lost his WBO belt to gifted American Terrence Crawford in March but has since regrouped, switching trainers from Billy Nelson to Essex-based Tony Sims.
“The big difference is the variety in Tony’s training,” said Burns, who now counts Anthony Joshua and Kevin Mitchell as stablemates at Simsy’s Boxing Gym.
“Every day I’m doing something different, he’s always mixing it up and there’s no set routine which really keeps me on my toes.
“Obviously I was gutted to leave Billy but like I said to him when we sat down together, I felt I had to make a change. I didn’t want to look back and think I should have done this or I should have done that.
“I felt like I was going through the motions - it was the same thing over and over so that’s why I decided to freshen it up. We left on good terms though and I felt a lot of sadness to be leaving.”
Still, after five consecutive world title clashes, the Scot will have to start again at the bottom.
Montenegro’s Zlaticanin owns a record of 18-0 but didn’t face an opponent with a winning record until his 12th fight, in 2011, when he defeated former Mitchell victim Felix Lora Will Burns be overlooking Zlaticanin then? “I treat every fight the same,” he said. “I don’t look at it that way - I train hard and get my head down whoever I’m fighting.
“I haven’t seen too much of him but Tony’s been watching videos of his fights so we’ll know what to expect. He’s a southpaw, very dangerous and he comes to get stuck in.
“I don’t think I’ll have to go looking for him on the night. He’s going to come forward, throw plenty of hooks so it should be an exciting fight with me getting the win in the end.”
If it all goes well, Burns, 31, could be in line for a shot at WBC champion Omar Figueroa – not that “Rickster” is looking ahead just yet.
“The plan is to get towards a final eliminator for the WBC title although I don’t want to look beyond any fight. I just want to produce the goods on fight night.
“Figueroa is a good fighter but I’m not thinking about anyone apart from Zlaticanin.”