By Elliot Foster
Ricky Burns reached the half-century in the paid ranks with a triumph.
The Coatbridge man, a former three-weight global ruler, was in action for the first time since last October’s defeat to Anthony Crolla.
Burns, now 35, got the ring rust off with a win over Ivan Njegac by retirement after the Croatian was pulled out by his corner at the start of round number five at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.
“If we didn’t think I had anything left to give, I wouldn’t be in the gym and training with the youngsters,” he said after his dominant display which formed part of the supporting cast to Lewis Ritson against Paul Hyland Jnr. for the former’s British lightweight title and Josh Kelly’s challenge of Kris George for the Commonwealth welterweight crown.
“They’re the youngsters and I’m the oldest in the gym,” Burns, who is now 42-7-1 with 15 early, “but I keep chasing them and it keeps me on the toes.
“I came in lighter than expected at the weigh-in and if there was another fight with [Anthony] Crolla available then I would take it, that would be the fight I want.
“I’ll have a couple of weeks off and get back in the gym awaiting what’s next.
“I’ll fight anyone they put in front of me and I’ll leave it up to them, but I’ve still got a few big nights left in me yet.”
And there were wins for Jake Haigh, Lawrence Osueke, and Chad Ellis, while Darren Reay moved to 3-0 with a 40-37 points victory over Mwenya Chisanga.