• Boxing

Burns has 'spring in his step' ahead of title eliminator

June 10, 2014
Ricky Burns says he has a spring in his step despite his defeat to Terence Crawford in March © PA Photos

Ricky Burns, who lost his lightweight world title in March, will return to face Dejan Zlaticanin in an elimination bout with another world title shot on the line when they meet June 27 at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow.

Fighting in Glasgow on March 1, Terence Crawford soundly outpointed Burns to take his WBO belt. It had been Burns' fifth defence in a two-year title reign.

Now Burns is getting a chance to face Zlaticanin in an eliminator that will give the winner a mandatory shot at the belt held by Omar Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs). However, Figueroa first will face Daniel Estrada (32-2-1, 24 KOs) this summer in a mandatory bout. So the Burns-Zlaticanin winner would eventually face the Figueroa-Estrada winner.

Burns (36-3-1, 11 KOs), 31, is training for the Zlaticanin fight with Tony Sims after having parted ways with trainer Billy Nelson. Burns said the change of scenery will be good for him.

"I have a real spring in my step for June 27," Burns said. "I had some great nights over the years but I felt after the Crawford fight that it was time for a change and I have definitely got a new lease of life down in Essex [England] with Tony.

"I fly down on a Monday and work solidly Monday to Friday in the gym and hitting the road, then fly home on a Friday evening. Of course, it is tough being away from home but it makes you work harder and gives you something to look forward too. You saw the effect that approach had on Carl Froch as he stayed away from his home comforts in Sheffield for the George Groves rematch [on May 31], and I think you will see something like that in me on June 27."

Burns said he is also getting excellent sparring at Sims' gym, including with contender Kevin Mitchell, whom Burns knocked out in the fourth round of a lightweight title defence in 2012.

"There's top, top class sparring on tap at Tony's gym," Burns said. "I was sparring with Kevin in the build-up to his fight with Ghislain Maduma on the Froch versus Groves bill and also with Martin [Ward], who was on that card. [Tuesday] I start some more work with [2012 Olympic gold medalist] Luke [Campbell], which is fantastic as he's an incredible talent.

"There are some huge fights out there for me. My last 10 fights have been for world titles and I am at home in the elite so I want to get back there as soon as possible. Zlaticanin is unbeaten and will have ambitions of his own, but I want my next fight to be for a world title and I have to put on a great show to earn that."

Zlaticanin (18-0, 13 KOs), 30, turned pro in 2008 and has faced extremely limited opposition, although two fights ago he notched a 12-round unanimous decision against Petr Petrov, who won the ESPN2 "Friday Nights Fights" Boxcino lightweight tournament on May 23.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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