By Chris Glover
Glasgow, Scotland - WBA junior welterweight champion Ricky Burns (41-5-1, 14KOs) won a twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated mandatory challenger Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19KOs). The scores were 118-110, 116-112, 116-112.
Burns now moves forward to a planned December title defense against former four division world champion Adrien Broner.
Relikh came out stalking and mixing up his punches with shots to the head and body. Burns was on the move, using his legs to circle around the ring, but Relikh was cutting off the distance and backing Burns up. Relikh was also switching up his stances, going to southpaw when necessary to confuse Burns.
In the second round, Relikh was tagging Burns with hard punches. Burns was unable to figure Relikh out. The third saw Burns working the jab, but unable to keep Relikh off. Burns was hanging back and starting to hold his ground a bit more as he started to find his feet with punches finally connecting. Burns was more loose at the start of the fourth, working a good jab and looking to land counters behind them. They were trading hard punches at the midway point before Burns tied him up. Relikh was still coming forward and Burns was starting to land more often.
Burns with a very solid fifth round, where he was able to outland and outmaneuver the bigger puncher. Burns started the sixth with a hard combination and went back the jab. Relikh's attacks were no longer as frequent. Rellikh continued to apply the pressure with his punches flying but not landing too clean. In the seventh, Relikh was unable to find the openings that he managed to get earlier on. Rather than cutting off the ring, Relikh was wasting time by following Burns around the ring. Relikh's punches seemed to lack the snap they had earlier and Burns was working well behind the jab.
Burns started with some very good work at the start of the seventh. Relikh was pressing Burns to the ropes and throwing big shots, but Burns was countering with punches there were landing flush. Burns was landing solid punches to Relikh, who was getting frustrated and continued to come forward. Relikh came out pushing forward with his punches in the ninth. He was throwing a lot, with Burns still landing the cleaner punches and working the jab.
Relikh started pressing very hard in the tenth, pushing Burns back to the ropes and letting his hands go. He more or less dominated the action and had Burns in some serious trouble in the final twenty seconds after landing hard hooks to the head and body. The same scenario in the eleventh, with Relikh landing some very telling blows to get Burns in serious trouble in the final minute. Once again Burns was able to get himself out of trouble.
Relikh came back with his hands swinging at the start of the twelfth. Burns had no issues with trading punches. Relikh was having the edge with the harder shots. He was being outboxed for a moment and then once again had Burns in the some trouble before the Scottish fighter exploded with some punches in the final twenty seconds.
ON THE UNDERCARD
For the vacant BBBofC British heavyweight title, Dillian Whyte (19-1, 15KOs) stopped Ian Lewison (12-3-1, 8KOs) in ten rounds.
Lewison started the contact as the aggressor as he liked to lend a telling bomb early doors on his Brixton counterpart Whyte. The tide changed temporarily as the cleaner work came from Whyte. The fight wasn't the brawl that many expected in the early stages as both fighters showed reserved tactics however both did look to land that one knockout blow.
Lewison's jab did seem effective however Whyte was the one throwing the more eye catching punches along with throwing far more combinations than his Brixton counterpart.
The mid to latter rounds saw Whyte maintain and if not up his work rate. Lewison continues unsuccessfully to look for a big counter. Lewison's right eye closed after eating many of Whyte's jabs. Whyte looked to close the show at the end of round 10. The Lewison corner could see he was getting hurt and stopped the contest at the end of round 10.