By John MacDonald
Former two-weight world champion, Ricky Burns 36-4-1 (11 KOs) returns to action with a debut at light-welterweight on October 4 in Leeds knowing that a win could lead to an all-Scottish showdown against former WBO featherweight champion, Scott Harrison 27-3-2 (15 KOs) towards the end of the year.
Burns, 31, has endured a turbulent 13-month period with four tough fights that began in May last year when he forced mandatory challenger Jose Gonzalez to retire on his stool at the end of ninth round, whilst behind on all three judges’ scorecards.
That September, Burns retained his WBO lightweight title with a controversial split decision draw against Raymundo Beltran in a fight that most felt the challenger had done enough to win. The champion did, however, show great determination fighting the majority of the contest with a broken jaw he sustained in the second round.
Six months later, having had a titanium plate fitted to his jaw, Burns dropped his title via unanimous decision to Terence Crawford who appears to be the star man of the division.
Burns’ hopes of an immediate return to title contention were dashed just over a month ago when unbeaten Dejan Zlaticanin dropped him in the first round en route to a well-earned split decision victory to claim the vacant WBC International lightweight title.
36-year-old Scott Harrison is looking to get his career back on track at 140lbs after drink issues and time served in a Spanish prison appeared to have derailed it. Harrison returned to the ring after a six and a half year absence in 2012 when picking up routine wins over Gyorgy Mizsei Jr and Joe Elfidh before losing to Liam Walsh in April, last year.
The former champion hasn’t fought since due to the British Boxing Board of Control revoking his license at the end of last year after Harrison failed to supply details of outstanding court issues. If his attempt to get his license reinstated is successful then the bout would likely take place in either November or December at a venue in Glasgow.
If the fight can be made then promoter Eddie Hearn would look to give current British and Commonwealth light welterweight champion, Willie Limond 34-4 (10 KOs) the chance to add the European title currently held by Michele Di Rocco 37-1-1 (16 KOs) to his collection on the undercard.
Limond is enjoying an Indian summer after winning the British title at the third time of asking against Curtis Woodhouse in June, having fallen short in previous attempts against Alex Arthur and Anthony Crolla.
The bill would also feature 2010 Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist Stephen Simmons 10-0 (5 KOs) as he looks to build on a career best win over Wadi Camacho earlier this year.
Fans might also see the added attraction of members of Scotland’s successful 2014 Commonwealth Games boxing team should they choose to switch to the professional ranks.