Apr 1 2009 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Burns is on fire as he batters title challenger
RICKY BURNS has set his sights on fighting ‘The Dagenham Destroyer’ after ruthlessly sending Michael Gomez into retirement.
The Coatbridge scrapper is desperate for a crack at British Super-Featherweight champion Kevin Mitchell after stopping Gomez in the seventh round with a blizzard of punches.
Burns was in superb form in Glasgow on Friday night as he retained his Commonwealth Super-Featherweight belt by recording his 26th career victory.
And now the 25-year-old wants a summer shot at Mitchell or world champ Roman Martinez of Puerto Rico.
“I am willing to fight Kevin or Roman,” he said. “If I was offered the chance of one of those fights, I wouldn’t be able to knock it back.
“By June, I will be ready to take on either of them.”
On his powerful win, Burns added: “I went out with the intention of boxing, but Gomez works the inside well so I wanted to stop that.
“I was using all my weight to let him hold me up and that took the energy out of him. My gameplan worked perfectly.
“It was a spectacular finish. I saw the red flag and didn’t let him off the hook.
“I knew he was tiring and when I clipped him one, I saw the judder in his leg and that was when I realised I had to get him out of there.”
There was a crackling atmosphere inside the Bellahouston Leisure Centre throughout this much-hyped contest, with Burns receiving plenty of backing.
He said: “The fans were unbelievable and I don’t know anyone else who has a support like that. I just hope to have more shows up here for them.”
Burns consistently landed with solid punches to the head and body, and it seemed only a matter of time before Gomez would be beaten.
However, the controversial Mancunian resorted to a dirty tricks campaign and twice head-butted Burns, only one of which was picked up by the referee.
Burns had been given a couple of warnings for holding and was docked a point in the fifth round for failing to heed them.
But the champ held his nerve and the fight was stopped just 47 seconds into the seventh, with Gomez unable to fend off a series of terrific blows while pressed firmly against the ropes.
Scottish boxing legend Jim Watt hailed Burns’ display and said: “We’ve witnessed him turn from a boy to a man out there.”
l To see more of photographer Tom Dick’s pictures from the big fight, go to www.acadvertiser.co.uk and follow the links.