Burns makes maiden title defence against Hatton’s Relikh before Broner bout
Lee Gormley | 7 October 2016
Ricky Burns v Kiryl Relikh
- WBA super-lightweight title fight
- Friday, October 7th
- Scheduled for: 22:30 BST
- The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland
- Live on Sky Sports 2
Burns v Relikh tips
A big-money match-up against Adrien Broner lies on the horizon for Scotland’s Ricky Burns, but the reigning WBA super-lightweight champion must first overcome the threat of Ricky Hatton trained mandatory challenger Kiryl Relikh.
Burns (40-5, 14 KOs) emphatically became a three-weight world champion when stopping Italian Michele di Rocco in May. He will next make the maiden defence of his WBA strap against dangerous Belarusian contender Relikh (21-0, 19 KOs) on Friday night.
The 33-year-old joined illustrious company as a three-division titlist, emulating the feats of former greats Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather and Julio Cesar Chavez to name a few, and will have potential future opponent Broner at ringside for his latest outing.
Controversial fighter ‘the Problem’ will be on a scouting mission ahead of a possible showdown with ‘Rickster’ and the latter Scot is 2/1 with Coral to impress by knocking out Relikh at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
Burns not looking past Relikh
Home favourite Burns may have four-weight world champion Broner overlooking his performance on home soil ahead of a highly-mooted bout. Though the Coatbridge-born fighter isn’t getting carried away and is showing plenty of respect for Relikh.
“If I don’t come through this then these big fights aren’t going to happen and we know we’ve got a tough fight on our hands Friday night so we’re concentrating on that for now,” stated Burns, who is odds-on 10/11 to earn a decision victory.
“My attitude towards training is still the same. If you ask Tony [Sims] or any of the guys I train with then they all say that I’m off my nut sometimes with the way I’m pushing myself all the time in every session.
“I’m always ready for a hard 12 rounds, which we think this is going to be. The best man will win on the night.”
Challenger Relikh confident of upset
Undefeated challenger Relikh is trained by former world champion Hatton and spends one month in his coach’s hometown of Manchester before his fights, despite still being based in Minsk, and he is 10/3 to cause a huge upset on Scottish soil.
The 26-year-old is aiming to emulate fellow Eastern European and dominant middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin by halting a home fighter in their own British backyard, after the latter Kazakh stopped Kell Brook.
“I’ve seen what Gennady Golovkin had done and I want to do the same,” declared Relikh, who has boxed in Britain three times since teaming up with Hatton back in 2013.
“I want to be recognised like Golovkin. Like most I am a Golovkin fan. He is a hero of mine, not just because of the way he fights but because he has shown the world what people from this part of Europe can do.”
Hatton backing his man to shine
Defending champion Burns will enter the ring as the massive odds-on 1/5 favourite to retain his belt in his first defence, but Hatton believes his hard-hitting contender Relikh has what it takes to spring a surprise.
“I know a lot of people are thinking ‘Who is Kiryl Relikh?’, but this kid is the real deal,” outlined Hatton.
“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. It is all right me saying this but he is fighting a three-weight world champion so he has to prove it.”
A showdown with American Broner looks set to come to fruition for Burns later this year. But the WBA super-lightweight champion will first need to get past the threat of mandatory challenger Relikh in order to secure what could be the biggest bout of his already distinguished career.
Whyte and Cardle feature on undercard
On the undercard in Glasgow, Jamaican-born British heavyweight Dillian Whyte (18-1, 14 KOs) will end his recent war of words with Ian Lewison (12-2, 8 KOs) as the pair collide, and ‘the Body Snatcher’ is odds-on 1/3 to stop his veteran London foe.
The former world title challenger has beaten both Ivica Bacurin and David Allen since being stopped by Anthony Joshua in December last year. He next enters at 7/2 to record a second successive points success and win the vacant British heavyweight crown. Meanwhile, Lewison is 7/1 to stun Whyte with a shock KO in Scotland.
Scott Cardle (20-0, 6 KOs) will also hope to make a statement on the undercard. The defending British lightweight titlist is 11/4 to stop Kevin Hooper (19-3, 4 KOs) and retain his strap. Though his Grimsby-born opponent is 4/1 to upset the odds and take home the honours.
Having read our Burns v Relikh tips, how do you see Friday fight night going in Scotland? Have your say below in our comments section!