Boxing - Burns survives big scare to defend title

Ricky Burns came through a tough test to defeat Puerto Rico's Jose Gonzalez and defend his WBO lightweight title in Glasgow.

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Boxing - Burns survives big scare to defend title
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Ricky Burns in action with Jose Gonzalez during their World WBO Lightweight Championship bout at Emirates Arena on May 11, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland

The previously unbeaten Gonzalez had Burns in trouble during some of the middle stages of the fight and the judges had him ahead in the scorecards going into the ninth – but the visiting fighter never came out at the bell for that round as he was forced to retire with a wrist injury.

Burns found it tough to deal with Gonzalez's awkward style and the Scotsman's nose was bloodied as early as the third round.

He had to sustain more pressure in the seventh but a superb body shot seemed to shift the momentum and there was a sense that he was getting on top of things in the eight.

However, he would still have been mightily relieved to see Gonzalez stay in his corner at the end of the eight to secure his 36th win in 38 contests.

"I felt he was getting tired and I had to keep the pressure up," Burns told Sky Sports.

"I couldn't believe how awkward he was. I felt like it was maybe a boring fight and I thought I should go to town a bit and I knew my corner didn't like it. I could hear (trainer) Billy (Nelson) going off his nut!

"But I take my hat off to him (Gonzalez), he's a class opponent and he caught with me with a few good shots."

Chief support was a 12 round contest for the Vacant WBC International Super Featherweight Title between Greenock’s John Simpson (9st 3lb) and Mongolian Choi Tseveenpurev (9st 1lb 8oz).

It was Choi that started the brighter in this one as he looked to edge a close opener. It was “bombs away” in round two as both men looked to try and land big punches. Choi worked well to Simpson’s body and this continued in the third as Simpson began trying to work behind the jab.

A big right hand in the fourth had Simpson on the retreat and although Simpson finished the round stronger it looked like another Choi round. There was good action in the fifth with both boxers landing scoring punches. Choi continued his assault on Simpson’s body in another close stanza.

The sixth was a better round for Simpson although his punches couldn’t seem to discourage the Mongolian. Simpson stated the seventh round well and for the first time in the contest had Choi in reverse. It was a good round for the Scotsman as he landed more. A good body shot right on the bell by Choi made Simpson wince.

There was more good action again in round 8 as Choi stepped up the pace after taking a breather in the previous round. Simpson landed more however the heavier shots were coming from Choi. It was a super round and both boxers showed respect for each other touching gloves at the end.

Round nine was a good Simpson round. The crowd roared as Simpson landed several good scoring blows including a lovely backhand. Choi started the tenth well pushing forward for the first half of the round and he also started the eleventh brightly. Choi hurt Simpson with a lovely body punch and it looked like Simpson was tiring.

The final round started better for Simpson as he used his boxing skills well. However Choi finished a super contest with two excellent uppercuts on the inside.

Star Referee Victor Loughlin had a relatively easy night as this one went to the judges’ scorecards. All three judges scored in favor of Simpson with scores of 116-112, 117-112 and 116-113.

Choi wasn’t happy with the decision and stormed out of the ring. He went the wrong way and ended up in the crowd whose booing wound up the tough Mongolian. It was a sad end to what had been a very exciting contest. Many at ringside thought this one was closer than it was and a re-match would be welcome. Simpson, a friend and sparring partner of Ricky Burns, moves to 25-9 and 41 year old Choi’s record is now 36-7.

Stephen Simmons (14st 1lb ½ oz) from Edinburgh was matched against Dublin’s Michael Sweeney (14st 3lb ½ oz) for the vacant Celtic Cruiserweight Championship. This one was scheduled for ten-threes however given the shape of the Irishman this looked unlikely as they entered the ring.

A left hook from Simmons at the end of the opening round floored Sweeney as he had to take a count from referee Steve Gray. The second round was another good one for the Scotsman as he started to work the body more.

Simmons was throwing more shots and this continued into the third round where Simmons boxed well behind the jab. Simmons rocked Sweeney right at the end of the round and it was no surprise that Sweeney was retired. Simmons picked up his first professional title and remains undefeated in the pro ranks.

Another boxer that remains undefeated is Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding (12st 5lb 10oz) who defeated Michal Nieroda, (12st 3lb) from Poland, after just 59 seconds of the first round. Fielding came in to the ring to the tune of Eye of the Tiger and his ring walk lasted longer than the fight as he started very fast throwing punches to the head and body.

This one was scheduled for eight-threes, however a body shot floored the Pole in the opener and although he managed to get to his feet before the end of the count he was clearly in distress and referee Victor Louchlin waived the contest over.

Fielding now faces Martin Conception in a mandatory defense of his English title and given the power of both boxers we could be in for a cracker.

The show opener was a six-threes contest between Belfast’s Eddie Nesbitt (9st 4lb) and Glasgow’s Jonathan Slowey (9st 3lb 6oz).

Both boxers started slowly as they felt each other out. The better defensive skills came from southpaw Slowey as Nesbitt threw some good body shots. Nesbitt suffered a flash knockdown in the third round and this proved to be decisive as this one went to the referees scorecard after six rounds. Nesbitt opened up a cut over Slowey’s left eye in round four and it was Nesbitt that landed the meatier punches in this one.

The referee was Douglas Campbell, but the fight was scored 58-56 at ringside by Kenny Pringle, who recorded 58-56 in favor of Scotsman Slowey.

David Brophy (11st 9lb ½ oz) benefited from having Ricky Burns in his corner alongside Billy Nelson for his six-threes contest against former Southern Area Champion Gary Boulden (11st 6lb 2oz) from Shepperton.

It was Boulden that started the opening round brightly as he used the ring well and landed with the jab. Brophy struggled to find his range in the opener, however the second was a much better round for him as he landed the cleaner scoring punches while taking most of Boulden’s punches on the gloves.

The third round was good for the fans with Boulden throwing lots of punches, but the better, heavier shots came from Brophy who ended the round well. Brophy started round four landing 3 left hooks before a cracking combination shook Boulden to the sole of his boots. The Englishman had to absorb several big punches in this round and it is to his credit that he didn’t take a count.

The fifth was more competitive and the last was also another close round with both boxers putting in a lot of effort. It was Brophy that got the nod on referee Kenny Pringle’s card with a close 58-57 verdict.

Glasgow’s Michael Roberts (9st 7lb) also had a close encounter with Brentford’s Mariusz Bak (9st 5lbs 10oz) over six-threes. The referee for this one was Douglas Campbell with Kenny Pringle scoring from outside the ropes.

It was Bak that started the brighter in this one and Roberts was cut to the left eye from a clash of heads in round three. Roberts had a better round in the fourth and he almost wrestled Bak out of the ring after pushing him as a wild punch from Bak whistled past the Scotsman’s chin.

Bak landed the cleaner shots and looked a little unlucky in not taking something from this contest. Roberts got the nod with a close 58-57 points decision and now moves to 12-0.

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