By Nick Halling
Former WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns is on the point of joining the Essex gym of trainer Tony Sims as he looks to rebuild his career. Official confirmation is expected before the end of the week.
Burns split from longtime trainer Billy Nelson following his defeat to the American Terence Crawford in February, and has been training with Sims in Loughton, Essex, this week. Sims is highly-regarded within the business, and last year steered Darren Barker to the IBF middleweight title.
Sims was also in Burns's corner - at Nelson's request - for his fight with Crawford. There is no suggestion that Sims has poached the fighter. However, after three disappointing performances in a row, Burns had come to the conclusion that he needed to freshen up his training regime.
Burns will benefit from top-quality sparring at the Sims gym, against former foe Kevin Mitchell. Having two elite-level lightweights under the same roof should not be a problem. The two boxers get on well and are respectful of each other's abilities.
Politically, there should be no conflict of interest in the short term. Mitchell has an eliminator for Miguel Vazquez's IBF title next month, while promoter Eddie Hearn has already identified WBC boss Omar Figueroa as the target for Burns.
Nick Halling is a commentator for Sky Sports.