• Lightweight

Burns begins hunt for next opponent

ESPN staff
May 16, 2013
Ricky Burns, who retained his WBO lightweight title on Saturday, will step back into the ring in September © PA Photos

Ricky Burns will return to the ring in September, with promoter Eddie Hearn claiming a unification showdown with reigning IBF lightweight title holder Miguel Vazquez the preferred choice.

Burns retained his WBO lightweight belt at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Saturday night when opponent Jose Gonzalez retired shortly after the ninth round, citing a wrist injury, despite being ahead on the judges' scorecards.

Now it is Hearn's task to select the next opponent for the 30-year-old Scot, with Vazquez and WBA lightweight champion Richar Abril on the radar. And he hasn't ruled out the possibility of a battle of Britain with the winner of June's fight between Anthony Crolla and Gavin Rees.

"Vazquez is a fight which appeals to us and one we'd like to make," Hearn was quoted as saying by the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser. "He's another awkward customer and difficult to beat. Rees is fighting Crolla. I don't know what's happening with the WBC title. Abril is interested.

"There are loads of options but the key now is that the mandatory challenge is done. It's a big thing to be able to take voluntary challenges and maybe unification fights.

"I'm delighted that Ricky's still world champion. We will be back here in September and I'd like to come back to the Emirates Arena. Now we'll start our discussions."

Burns admits he was concerned referee Russell Mora was going to step in during the seventh on Saturday as he attempted to weather a Gonzalez storm - but feels he was in control by the time the fight was called off.

"I could see the referee having a good look but I came back with something of my own," Burns admitted.

"When somebody hurts me, I'm coming right back at them and that's the way I'm always going to be. I didn't think I had to stop him but I thought I had to win the last rounds convincingly."

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