sport

Burns set for Scotland escape

Ricky Burns is likely to fight away from Scotland when he returns to the ring following Friday night's humbling defeat by Dejan Zlaticanin.

The 31-year-old Scot was floored within 30 seconds of his comeback from losing his WBO lightweight belt before suffering a points loss to the Montenegrin in Glasgow in an official WBC eliminator.

Burns struggled in the opening rounds before clawing his way back into the contest, but diminutive southpaw Zlaticanin, fighting outside the Balkans for the first time, continued to cause problems with his left hook and consistently threw the more dangerous punches before winning a split decision.

It leaves the career prospects of the two-weight world champion in tatters and promoter Eddie Hearn said: "I think we need to take him away from Scotland for his next fight, because every time he fights there is so much pressure and expectation.

"He is going to have a holiday and see how he feels but I can't see him quitting in a million years because he loves to fight. It's not as if he's an old man, he is physically fit and loves to fight.

"He trains harder than anyone else down the gym, his sparring is better than anyone else, but he is not delivering it in the ring. I don't know what it is. It's not desire, he still has the desire.

"Probably take the first four rounds away, I thought he won the fight quite comfortably, but it's the same mistakes, throwing hooks with your chin in the air and getting caught by a hooker. It was a nightmare start."

Hearn will now look to set up an all-British fight to see if Burns can recapture his form, with the likes of Tommy Coyle, Anthony Crolla, Derry Matthews and possibly Kevin Mitchell all potential opponents.

"I don't believe Zlaticanin will go on to win a world title," Hearn added. "If you can't beat him, you are not going to go on and win a world title. His next fight will have to be a tough domestic fight. You have to win that and then have another fight like Zlaticanin to get in the world title mix.

"This was about winning back the confidence of the people and Ricky Burns but we have taken another step back.

"But Ricky was sitting in the dressing room saying he feels he has let people down and needs to get back into the gym and improve. He was crying his eyes out."

There was plenty to cheer for the home crowd earlier in the bill with Willie Limond winning a Lonsdale belt at the third time of asking by beating Curtis Woodhouse in a convincing points victory.

The 35-year-old Commonwealth champion, whose previous attempts ended in defeat by Alex Arthur and Crolla, twice put the spirited Woodhouse on the deck with upper-cuts and boxed skilfully throughout despite the defending champion's brave comeback bid.

Hearn could now fix the Glaswegian up for a shot at Italian Michele di Rocco's European belt.

Edinburgh's Stephen Simmons won his grudge match with Wadi Camacho with a 10th-round stoppage following a close affair for the WBC Silver International cruiserweight belt.