• Lightweight

Burns to put title on the line against Beltran

June 27, 2013
Ricky Burns was a winner in May © PA Photos

Lightweight champion Ricky Burns, looking to put his last performance behind him, will make the fourth defence of his WBO belt when he faces Raymundo Beltran on September 7 at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Wednesday.

"This has always been a fight that stylistically makes sense," said Hearn, who made a deal with Beltran's promoter Top Rank to put the fight on. "Beltran is a hugely entertaining and tough opponent who is on a hot run and ranked impressively across the governing bodies."

Burns, who enjoys enormous fan support in his home country of Scotland, is coming off a ninth-round TKO victory against obscure mandatory challenger Jose Gonzalez of Puerto Rico on May 11. Gonzalez outclassed Burns for most of the fight, although Burns (36-2, 11 KOs) did begin to turn things around in the action-packed seventh round. After the ninth round, Gonzalez, ahead on all three scorecards, abruptly quit on his stool.

"It's great to be back out again in Glasgow and against another tough opponent," Burns, 30, said. "It was a tricky night against Jose, but I got myself through it like a true champion does, and I will be looking to step up a gear against Beltran, who I know will be coming to Scotland full of confidence, so it should be another great night in Glasgow.

"Raymundo is coming over to cause an upset and take the title - and it's a chance he has earned. But there will be no mistakes from me on the night, and you'll see the best of me in there."

Since losing a decision to Luis Ramos Jr in January 2012, Mexico's Beltran (28-6, 17 KOs), who turns 32 in July, has won three fights in a row to push himself into the lightweight top 10.

He upset Hank Lundy via majority decision in July 2012, followed with a decision win in a brawl with Kim Ji-hoon in December and outpointed Alejandro Rodriguez on April 27. He also secured great experience as one of the top sparring partners for Manny Pacquiao.

"I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time," Beltran said. "I have been on the wrong side of some close decisions, but I have never quit on myself or my goal to be world champion. I will prepare for a long night and a hard fight.

"He is the champion, so he won't give it to me. I have to take it from him. I am not flying across the ocean to just show up. He's going to know that he's in a war, and he's going to know this was no tuneup or stay-busy fight for him.

"I have never fought easy fights. Whatever it takes to win - knockout, points, it will be a definitive for me so no one can question that I deserve to be the champion. He has had his time, and I respect him now, but the night of the fight he will get none until it's over. Then it's two warriors who have respect again. But he's in for 12 rounds or less with me giving my all. This is for my family, my kids, so I can give them a good future. I'm taking them into the ring with me in my heart."

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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