By Elliot Foster
Ricky Burns put on something of a punch-perfect performance as he made history for his country.
The Coatbridge man, 33, became a three-weight world champion, exclusively live on Sky Sports, as he bludgeoned Michele Di Rocco into submission inside eight rounds at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Burns (40-5-1, 14 KOs) was sensational throughout and looked world-class ahead of picking up a third world title in a third weight division, ensuring he became the first Scotsman to achieve the feat.
He boxed beautifully, outclassing the Italian from the first bell to claim the vacant WBA super-lightweight crown.
Di Rocco, who has excelled at European level and was undefeated in nine years before this fight, had no answer to anything ‘Rickster’ came up with and the end came after one minute and 57 seconds of the round.
Burns used his left jab to perfection, rifling it out similar to the use of a missile to keep Di Rocco on the backfoot.
That’s how it continued in the opening stages –– and for the remainder of the fight, which was in front of a rowdy 8,000 crowd North of the border.
The first moment in which the rapid unravelling of the visitor was witnessed was in round three as he was bundled over after being caught by a good right hand.
Before that, though, he’d been shook in the opener by a stiff right hand.
The fundamentals were key for Burns in a victory that looked effortless and he takes his place in Scottish boxing folklore.
He now wants some big fights –– but only after a holiday next week.
Di Rocco, in defeat, slips to 40-2-1 (18 KOs).
ON THE UNDERCARD
Tyrone Nurse scored a stoppage in Glasgow.
The Huddersfield man retained his British super-lightweight championship with a great performance, exclusively live on Sky Sports.
Nurse, 26, moved to 33-2-1 (7 KOs) after stopping an incredibly game Willie Limond at The SSE Hydro in Scotland, as part of the undercard of Ricky Burns’ clash with Michele Di Rocco for the vacant Super WBA super-lightweight crown.
Limond, 37, had his good spells in the fight, but the hometown man was ultimately outclassed by a guy who was slick, languid and altogether the more classier man.
Nurse said in the post-fight interview on television that he “didn’t expect” that sort of fight from Limond, who said that the referee, Victor Loughlin, “did what he thought was right.”
Limond was asked whether he was bowing out following defeat and said that Nurse had “taken that decision out of my hands now.”
Despite retiring after the fight, it’s worth noting the part that Limond –– a man who has been British, Commonwealth and WBC Silver champion throughout a distinguished career spanning 44 fights –– played, catching the man nine years his junior with some good shots but ultimately coming up short.
Nurse will now go on to bigger and better things and will look to return in August on the undercard of Kell Brook’s next fight in Sheffield.
Conor Benn continued his rise in the paid code with yet another victory.
The 19-year-old, who turned professional just last month, will return to the scene of his debut victory next month following his latest win, which was screened exclusively live on Sky Sports.
Benn, now 2-0 (1 KO), went toe-to-toe with Halifax’s Luke Keleher at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, as part of the undercard of Ricky Burns’ clash with Michele Di Rocco for the vacant Super WBA super-lightweight crown.
Having iced Ivailo Boyanov in just 127 seconds on April 9, Benn –– who wore tartan trim on his shorts –– engaged in an all-out war with the man 10 years his senior from the off.
He was rash, reckless and took some unnecessary shots, but after the first two rounds, the son of former two-weight world champion Nigel began to think about what he doing and boxed intelligently before the final bell against Keleher, who slipped to 2-5-1 (1 KO).
Benn, who was awarded the clash by the referee Kenny Pringle by a margin of 40-36, will next be in action on June 25, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office, on a bill at London’s O2 Arena that is topped by Anthony Joshua’s first IBF heavyweight world title defence against undefeated American Dominic Breazeale.
Tommy McCarthy shone as he moved a step closer to a British title shot.
The Belfast cruiserweight is now just a fight away from fighting for the prized Lonsdale belt after comfortably winning on points, exclusively live on Sky Sports.
McCarthy, who is now 9-0 (5 KOs), dropped Jon-Lewis Dickinson in their eliminator showdown en-route to securing a victory on the undercard of Ricky Burns’ clash with Michele Di Rocco for the vacant Super WBA super-lightweight crown.
He was in control from the early stages, the 25-year-old Pat Magee-managed prospect, and didn’t allow Birtley’s veteran man Dickinson into the fight from the off.
Dickinson, who slipped to 17-5 (5 KOs) in defeat, saw the canvas in round six after a delayed reaction following a cracking right hand, which landed right on the base of the chin.
But Dickinson, 30, averted the crisis and rallied late on to win some rounds as the relatively inexperienced McCarthy tired.
Going into the last round, the feeling was that Dickinson needed a stoppage but equally McCarthy needed the round.
And that’s how the three ringside judges saw it as they awarded McCarthy the victory by margins of 97-92, 97-92 and 98-91.
He must now face Matty Askin, the English champion, in a final eliminator for the belt currently held by Ovill McKenzie.
Earlier in the card, there were wins for Joe Ham and Ryan Smith, who each remain unbeaten with records of 8-0 (5 KOs) and 6-0 respectively.
But Marc Kerr lost his unbeaten record in fight number six as he was outscored over four rounds against Chris Jenkinson by a margin of 39 points to 37.
Kerr is now 5-1, while Jenkinson, whose last win came 17 months ago, improves to 9-32-2.
Anthony Ogogo kept up his undefeated run in what was his first fight for almost a year.
The middleweight prospect moved to 9-0 (5 KOs) at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ogogo, the Olympic bronze medallist from 2008 in Beijing, had been out since July, 2015 after suffering a dislocated shoulder in his last fight.
But he showed no signs of injury as he dominated late stand-in Gary Cooper, on the undercard of Ricky Burns’ clash with Michele Di Rocco for the vacant Super WBA super-lightweight crown, which will be aired exclusively live on Sky Sports.
He dominated proceedings against the 27-year-old Welshman, who drops to 4-20-1 (2 KOs), before his corner compassionately saved their man from taking any further punishment by throwing in the towel.
Ogogo was originally set to face Germany's Chris Herrmann over six rounds, but Cooper was drafted in at late notice.
Meanwhile, former two-time British middleweight title challenger John Ryder won over six rounds against Robert Talarek (60-55) and British lightweight champion Scotty Cardle remained unbeaten after claiming a six-round points victory against Ivan Njegac.
And earlier in the card, Sam Ball improved to 6-0 (3 KOs) with a stoppage win in the third round.
Glasgow’s Ball faced previously undefeated George Hennon, who slips to 3-1, and was forced to rise from the canvas in round two before dropping and stopping his man less than three minutes later.