Ricky Burns moved another step closer to a world title unification fight against IBF champion Mzonke Fana last night, when latest challenger for the Scotsman WBO featherweight crown Joseph Laryea was pulled out of the fight at the end of the seventh round due to a damaged hand.
Burns, who suggested Laryea had used the hand injury as way out after losing heart from the pressure he put on him, will now hope that promoter Frank Warren will be able to secure him a fight with 37 year-old South African Fana, with the chance of adding the IBF belt and Ring Magazine super-featherweight titles as well as cementing his place as one of the best fighters to come from Scotland.
The champion dictated most of the fight against the awkward Laryea making the challenger miss and capitalising with his own shots.
The 27 year-old titleholder showed the better work throughout the contest, with Laryea only briefly getting into the fight in the fourth and fifth rounds. WBN our sister website, scoring the fight live, had Burns winning six out of the seven rounds on the scorecard from the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, only handing Laryea the fifth round.
The Coatsbridge fighter seemed to rely on combinations, rather than boxing behind the jab and the African struggled to cope with his work rate, slowly beginning to lose heart after the sixth round, with the rangy fighter pulling himself out on his stool at the start of round eight.
BritishBoxers called the fight almost to the letter in our preview stating. “Laryea has been stopped once before by countryman Yakubu Amidu in 4 rounds and although Burns hasn’t got that one punch finish, he could well have hit Laryea enough to cause a late stoppage or the challengers corner may have to pull out a brave but beaten man.” – Chris Maylett – British Boxers
Burns may never get a better chance to become a unified world champion and if the Mzonke Fana fight with does get made, it could be the biggest in the super-featherweight division this year.
“Everybody knows that I would love to fight for that Ring Magazine belt,” said WBO champion Burns after his retirement win over Laryea.
“In the ratings they’ve got Mzonke Fana number one and I am number two.
“I am sure he would love to unify the division. Any boxer would love to fight for that ‘Rocky belt’, as we call it. It’s the one I want. I would love to have that wrapped round my waist.
“I was reading from his camp that they were saying all (promoter) Frank Warren has to do is get in touch with him, so fingers crossed he can pull it off.”
Laryea, from Ghana, retired with a hand injury after taking a lot of punishment in the first half of the fight, as Burns used his superior skills before starting to dig in the shots that began to discourage the challenger. Laryea began to look more and more like he didn’t want to be there as the fight got harder for him and he appeared to signal to his corner that he was in pain, believing he had broken a knuckle in his right hand, which eventually was waved off.
Burns improved his record to 31-2, including 8 knockouts. The challenger’s record dropped to 14-5, with 11 stoppages.
DeGale batters Kobal in preparation for Groves
British super-middleweight champion James DeGale appeared on the Glasgow undercard in a tick over fight, before his anticipated showdown with George Groves, hitting his hardened opponent Alpay Kobal from France with every punch in the book before eventually the referee stopped the fight in round five.
It was a relatively easy night for the Olympic gold medallist as he took on the French journeyman who usually competes at light-heavyweight.
DeGale set an early pace and continued to land at will against an opponent who looked completely out of his depth, although it was not until the fifth round that the referee decided to step in and stop the contest.
The talented young British fighter showed an array of punches from different angles and continually hit his French opponent with hurtful upper-cuts that marked Kobal’s face.
After upping the pace in the fifth round and landing a series of hurtful punches the contest was stopped one minute and 37 seconds into the round by which point Kobal had become a live punchbag.
After the fight DeGale urged George Groves to sign on the dotted line for the British super-middleweight title fight, vowing to knock out his rival in the fourth round as a much-anticipated grudge match between the pair edged closer to reality.
As far as the fans are concerned we thought and were told that this fight had already been signed for and only a confirmed date needed finalising.
The British Board of Boxing Control had pencilled in the fight for April 9 at London’s Olympia, but is more likely to be brought back, giving both more time to prepare for the clash.
“My team are doing everything in their power to get it on, I’m just waiting for them to sign the contract,” DeGale told Sky Sports. “I’m ready for it, I’m just waiting for the call from my promoter. I’m ready to knock Ugly Kid out.” DeGale told SkySports afterwards.
“Fans want it, so it’s only right for him to get knocked out. Let’s get it on. I’m just waiting for the call. I just want them to sign the contract. Let’s do this Ugly Boy. I’m coming for you – you’re next.”
Later on Facebook Groves hit back at DeGale sarcastically stating, “Someone from James Degale’s team should tell him that the contracts are SIGNED and LODGED with the BBBoC from the Purse Bids…” to be continued……
Full undercard results from the Braehead Arena, Glasgow to follow
John Thain beat Kevin McCauley on points 40-36
Craig Evans beat Sid Razak on points 40-36
Craig Evans beat Sid Razak on points 40-36