By Terence Dooley
Scottish trainer Billy Nelson feels that Ricky Burns will continue to fly the flag for their country by defeating Joseph Laryea at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena tomorrow night. Laryea, 14-4 (11) earned his opportunity by upsetting Edinburgh’s Paul Appleby last December; the 25-year-old challenger believes that he will rip the WBO super-featherweight title from Burns. Nelson, though, told me that his charge is focussed and will not be on a revenge mission against the Ghanaian.
“I don't care about that. We're not going into the ring to avenge Paul Appleby, we're going in to defend the title and go on with Ricky’s career. I think we'll stop him in the middle-to-late rounds,” insisted the 42-year-old when asked if Burns will be seeking to avenge Appleby’s points reverse.
Frank Warren recently named Billy as one of the world’s best trainers, high praise for the former middleweight; he was pleased with the compliment but believes that it brings its own pressure.
“I was delighted when Frank said that. I was shocked; he said I was one of the best trainers in the world right now. I am over-the-moon with that, it is a great compliment but we have to keep getting results,” he declared.
Burns is looking ahead to a possible unification fight against IBF boss Mzonke Fana, the 27-year-old won the title by out pointing Roman Martinez last September and has since defended against Norway-based Columbian Andreas Evensen. However, Ricky insists that he is not looking past tomorrow night’s opponent.
“I won’t let him dictate the tempo of the fight with that long jab of his. He looked nervous at the press conference so I think I’ve got his cards marked. I’m putting unification fights to the back of my mind because if I don’t beat Joseph these fights won’t happen. People are expecting this to be an easy second defence but Laryea is not to be underestimated – I can’t afford any slip ups,” declared Burns, 30-2 (7).
Burns hooked up with Nelson after a gruelling 2007 British title defeat to Carl Johanneson. The tough talking trainer believes that trainers do the training and fighters to the fighting, something he made clear to Ricky during their second session.
“Ricky came into the gym on the second day and said ‘I'll just do four rounds on the bags and I'll do this and that’. I told him that if he wanted to dictate what he does when he's in the gym then he'd have to go with another trainer. The message got home straight away; otherwise he'd have been shown the door,” chuckled Nelson.
John Simpson recently brought home the bacon by decisioning British featherweight ruler Martin Lindsay in Belfast last December. The Greenock man is 0-3 in home soil title fights yet holds a very respectable 6-3 record when vying for belts on the road.
“The Lindsay fight was John's first for me on a full-time basis. John will beat anybody in Britain now. I think [next opponent Stephen] Smith is a good wee fighter but I still think that John won their first fight. He'll be European champion before the turn of the year,” predicted Nelson when turning his attention to Simpson’s April 27 rematch with Smith.
Nelson showed his expertise by holding John back during the build-up to the Lindsay fight. Indeed, Simpson put his sparkling performance down to the fact that his trainer had given him a few days off.
“John was coming to the boil too quickly”, explained Nelson, “but the fact is that John is a machine in the gym, you can't do what he was doing five days a week. It was a case of giving him a wee rest. We still had him doing his runs but what he was doing on a daily basis was too much, we needed to give him a day or two off to give his body a rest. We did that and he came back into the gym buzzing. I am just putting a few technical faults right but the guy is an absolute machine.”
Burns-Laryea is being show live on Sky Sports HD1 and 1 from 8pm tomorrow night.
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