May 19 2010 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Coatbridge boxer Ricky Burns
RICKY BURNS produced a dominant performance on his return to the ring after a marathon 11-month lay-off.
The Commonwealth Super-Featherweight title holder took on Youssef Al Hamidi in the open air on Saturday night.
Burns showed off his skills at West Ham United’s Upton Park on the undercard of the Kevin Mitchell and Michael Katsidis showdown.
And he came away from East London with a comfortable points victory as he claimed the 28th victory of his nine-year career by going the distance.
Burns said: “I was just choking to get back into the ring and I was pleased with the result.
“I don’t ever want to go so long without a fight again. I belong in the ring and I was desperate to fight.
“I feel I am hitting a lot harder. He went the full distance but I knew I’d hurt him.
“It was good that the fight went the full eight rounds. I was chasing him round the ring by the end but I needed it and felt strong.”
Syrian-born Al Hamidi had no answer to the pressure Burns delivered from the off and was in survival mode for much of the contest.
During his 24 minutes in the ring, Burns threw a total of 423 punches and landed with 83 and to post a success rate of 19 per cent.
In response, Al Hamidi threw 196 punches and registered a success level of 11 per cent having hit with 23 of them.
Referee Marcus McDonald scored the bout 80-73 in Burns’ favour but the Coatbridge scrapper knew he was in for a testing evening.
He added: “I’ve boxed him before so I knew he was going to be quite tricky.
“Youssef is a lot better than his record suggests and he has a plan he sticks to in the ring.”
Burns will now turn his attention to fighting Roman Martinez for the World Super-Featherweight crown.
The Puerto Rican has a voluntary defence of his belt next Saturday night when he tackles Argentina’s Gonzalo Munguia in a South American slugfest.
And should Martinez come through unscathed, Burns is expected to get his shot at the world title at the end of July.
The 27-year-old said: “I spoke with Frank Warren about things while I was down there.
“It’s been a frustrating time for everyone and the main problem has been trying to find a date that suits everyone, including Sky TV.
“But I’ve been assured that the fight will happen and that it will be in Glasgow. Whenever it is, I’ll be ready.”