By Jake Donovan
Former lightweight titlist Ricky Burns is set to return to the ring on October 4 in hopes of ending a two-fight skid, as promoter Eddie Hearn continues to map out what looks to be a busy fall schedule for his Matchroom Sport promotional company.
Burns will be added to the October 4 show destined for the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England. Also tentatively slated to appear on the card are unbeaten local favorite Josh Warrington and super welterweight contender Brian Rose.
At one point, Burns (36-4-1, 11KOs) was regarded as the best lightweight in the world, flying high while riding a six-year, 22-fight unbeaten streak. The tail end of his run, however, hit rocky waters, beginning with a come-from-behind stoppage win over Jose ‘Chelo’ Gonzalez, in which Burns was down on all three scorecards when his opponent quit on his stool following the end of the 9th round in their May ’13 title fight.
Four months later saw Burns struggle mightily in a controversial 12-round draw versus Raymundo Beltran, a fight many believed should have been scored in favor of the visiting challenger. His lightweight title reign camp to an end in March, dropping a competitive decision to unbeaten Terence Crawford at home in Glasgow, Scotland.
The bout was the proverbial passing of the torch, as Crawford’s star is now on the rise, while Burns’ career is threatening to head in the opposite direction. On the eve of Crawford’s sensational 9th round stoppage of Yuriorkis Gamboa, Burns suffered a shocking points loss to unbeaten but unheralded Dejan Zlaticanin.
By night’s end, even Burns’ promoter commented that the Scot needs to return to the domestic level, as the 31-year old–now winless in his last three starts–is in desperate need of a win.
The show also marks a hoped-for return to glory for Rose (25-2-1, 7KOs), who was humbled in a one-sided 7th round stoppage loss versus unbeaten 154 lb. titlist Demetrius Andrade in June. The 29-year old Brit had won 11 straight heading into this first major title fight, including a split decision win over Javier Maciel last October.
Warrington (18-0, 2KOs) is the only fighter of the trio whose career remains on an upswing. The featherweight prospect fights at home for the second straight fight, entering on the heels of a decisive 12 round points win over Martin Lindsay in their regional featherweight title fight in May.
Opponents for all three fighters are expected to be announced in the near future, along with ticket information once the show is formally announced by Matchroom Sport.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox