• Boxing

Burns: I needed to freshen things up

Nick Parkinson
June 27, 2014
Ricky Burns lost his world title to Terence Crawford three months ago © PA Photos

Ricky Burns insists switching trainers was the right thing to do after losing his world title, but admits Friday might be too soon to see any improvement.

Burns will be trying to convince his doubters that he is not finished when he takes on unbeaten Montenegrin Dejan Zlaticanin at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow.

Burns, 31, took drastic action after losing the WBO world lightweight title to American Terence Crawford in his last fight three months ago. Crawford dominated and the convincing defeat came after Burns was fortunate to cling on to his title with a controversial draw against Mexican Raymundo Beltran last year.

Burns, who broke his jaw against Beltran, reacted to the Crawford defeat by sacking long-term trainer Billy Nelson to and taking on Tony Sims, working with the trainer at his gym in east London.

He hopes the change in cornermen will help him win the fringe WBC international lightweight title on Friday in his first fight with Sims and put him in the frame for another world title shot. "Tony hasn't wanted to change too much and it's coming together, but it might not click to start with," Burns told ESPN.

"I can see where he's coming from and what he wants to improve on but it will take time. I had to make a change with my trainer to get some new ideas and to freshen things up on the training side of things.

"It's just basic stuff we have been working on, getting back on the jab and a bit more head movement instead of coming in straight on. Even in the build up to fights I've always had my doubters but I try and switch off. When you read or listen to what people have been saying about you it can lead to you putting more pressure on yourself."

Burns says the fight with Zlaticanin is to earn a high WBC ranking, but the Scot is not sure what will happen after Friday's fight, win or lose.

Reflecting on losing his world title to Crawford, he said: "Boxing is my job and that's the way I look at it. Losing the world title is not the end of the world. I've had three defeats in my career but it's about how you come back from them.

"I still train very hard, just as hard when I was champion, and I wouldn't have come down to train in London and be away from my family if I didn't want to still be fighting and thinking I've still got more big performances in me.

"I've never been one to say I'm going to do this or that and I'm not looking at what will happen after my next fight, but I wouldn't have made these changes if I thought I was finished.

"I've been away from home for a while and it's hard missing the baby, but I didn't want to look back and think I should've done it because all the best gyms are down south.

"Before my last fight I came down for a week's sparring at Tony's gym and that was the first time I had met him. It's a great gym to be involved in with the likes of Kevin Mitchell and Anthony Joshua also training here."

Londoner Mitchell, who Burns comprehensively vanquished in four rounds two years ago, is hoping to get a world title shot of his own but Burns does not expect to cross paths with his new gym-mate again.

"I'm going down a different route to Kevin," Burns said. "He's hoping to get a shot at the IBF champion Miguel Vazsquez and I'm hoping to get a high ranking with the WBC.

"If I come through this fight I will be knocking on the door for a shot at the WBC champion Omar Figueroa."

Burns's body is nearly covered in tattoos, but the Coatbridge boxer plans to add to his inkwork should he win his first fight in over a year.

"After this fight I'm going to try and squeeze a few more tattoos in," he said. "I've got that many I've lost count, but there's still room. I just say to the tattooist to find some room and go for it."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd