By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
RICKY BURNS will KO the noise of a fanatical home crowd when he makes the latest defence of his WBO world lightweight crown later tonight.
Scotsman Burns will have the vast majority of a 10,000 crowd backing him when he meets Londoner Kevin Mitchell at the SECC in Glasgow.
But local hero Burns said: “The first thing I’ll try to do is block the noise from the crowd out of my mind and focus on what I have to do.
“The crowd will be there, of course, but I’m the only one in the ring who can help me.
“I’m the one who is in there taking the punches.
“If I’m being honest, fight nights are like a big blur, from the moment I walk from my dressing room to the ring.
“When the first bell sounds I’m on my own.
“I hear certain shouts but it’s only in the later rounds a boxer might need the noise of the crowd to dredge up extra effort.”
But 29-year-old Burns has plenty of respect for his fans.
He said: “I’m grateful for the support I receive from the public and I thank them for turning out in such great numbers whenever I fight.”
Burns, who has lost just two of his 36 fights, is something of a boxing rarity, as he does not like being the focus of attention.
He said: “The spotlight doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not fussed about being in the public eye – it’s just the way I am.
“People are surprised to find I’m two different people – one who operates inside the ring and the other guy who’s happy to keep himself to himself.”
Burns is fully focused on retaining his title against 27-year-old Mitchell, who represents the toughest fight of the Scot’s career.
The Londoner has won 33 of his 34 fights, but Burns said: “I believe I have all the bases covered.
“I’ve matured as a fighter now and my punching power has become even stronger.”
BURNS v Mitchell will be live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) on Saturday from 7pm. Join now at www.boxnation.com