Ricky Burns Focused on Relikh, Not Looking Ahead To Broner

Kiryl Relikh is ready for the step up in class against WBA super-lightweight champion Ricky Burns on Friday night, according to Ricky Hatton.

The 26-year-old Belarusian is under the guidance of former world champion Hatton and will climb into the ring at Glasgow's SSE Hydro Arena with a record of 19 knockouts in 21 wins.

The Mancunian has been a fan of Burns during his career but he believes Relikh, the mandatory challenger, has what it takes in his armoury to cause a shock. "I know a lot of people are thinking 'Who is Kiryl Relikh?', but this kid is the real deal," said Hatton.

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Hatton recalled the night that former stablemate Michael Gomez upset the odds in Edinburgh by beating Alex Arthur in Edinburgh to take his British super-featherweight title in 2003.

"I was in Scotland when Michael Gomez beat Alex Arthur and no one thought he would do that," Hatton said. "I believe Kiryl will do the same.

"He has had 21 fights unbeaten with 19 knockouts. He hasn't boxed at Ricky's level yet but the manner in which he has won at the level he is at, shows he is the real deal. He has been with me six or seven years and he just blasts everyone.

"I like to think I am quite knowledgeable about boxing but unless I have got it all wrong, he is the real deal. It is all right me saying this but he is fighting a three-weight world champion so he has to prove it."

Burns makes the first defence of the belt he won in May when he knocked out Michele Di Rocco in the same arena in eight rounds.

If the 33-year-old comes through Friday night unscathed he could be lined up to meet four-weight champion Adrien Broner, with the Cincinnati boxer heading to Scotland to see the Coatbridge fighter in action.

Burns, though, only has eyes for Relikh. He said: "I can't talk about that (Broner). Obviously it would be good if it did happen but we know we have a tough fight on our hands against Kiryl.

"His record with 19 knockouts in 21 wins - it shows that he can punch and that this is a dangerous fight. And I know a few people who have sparred with him who say he can punch. You just look at his record and you can see, although the calibre of opponents hasn't been the best. But at the end of the day he is still knocking them out so the power is there and you have to respect that.

"Everyone has gone well training-wise and I am looking forward to climbing through the ropes. I just want to get on with it. I was in London for 11 weeks. We just got back at the weekend so I am looking forward to going out and putting on a good show for the Glasgow crowd again."

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