Nov 9 2011 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
RICKY BURNS says he was delighted to silence his critics after winning the WBO interim lightweight title.
The talented 28-year-old defeated Aussie Michael Katsidis on points at the Wembley Arena in London on Saturday night.
Burns, stepping up to the lightweight division for the first time, looked confident and assured as he delivered a textbook performance which was technically sound.
And the Coatbridge fighter was in no mood to let those who doubted him off the hook after recording the 33rd win of his 10-year pro career.
He said: “I just can’t believe it. Everybody doubted me going into that fight; everybody had Michael walking all over me.
“I’ve always said that when I know I’m up against it, that’s when I’ll be at my best. I have proved a lot of people wrong.
“I want to thank my team who have believed in me all the time. I’ve always said that the better the guy in front of me, the better I’m going to be. I’m over the moon.
“I am not afraid of getting beat and I think that is the right attitude to have. No matter who I’m against, I’ll give it 100 per cent.”
Katsidis ‘The Great’ wore some nifty head gear as he marched to the ring for his date with lightweight debutant Burns, who walked out to some familiar theme music.
In September 2010, the Kelvin Hall rocked to the sound of Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer moments before his memorable contest with Puerto Rico’s Roman Martinez.
That night, he won the WBO super-featherweight championship. He was clearly looking for history to repeat itself.
The opening rounds were dominated by Burns, who was quickly in his stride and using the benefit of his longer reach to execute his trademark jab.
“All the quality boxing is coming from you. You’ve proved you can hurt him,” said trainer Billy Nelson during one corner pep talk. He was not wrong.
Burns was also finding success with some lovely uppercuts. One straight left-hand caught Katsidis flush in the face.
“My jab was the key in the fight,” he added. “It was hard in some of the rounds to keep him off as he pushing in so much.
“But I also showed that I can stand my ground.”
During the middle rounds, he did just that. Burns’ defence was solid all night, even when pressed against the ropes.
Katsidis, a true warrior, favoured flurries of punching blitzes as he looked to make inroads and set up a thrilling finale.
But Burns was always a few steps ahead thanks to his early spade work and a terrific ninth round which featured the jab and two nice uppercuts.
Nelson laid it on the line to his man and said: “You can only lose this fight. He can’t beat you now.”
The Antipodean gave it a good go, delivering a tasty left hand and then a left hook. Burns stood strong, unruffled and unmarked.
One more right hand in the 11th ensured victory would go to Burns as long as he withstood the inevitable final round onslaught.
But, in truth, there were no fears of him coming this far and leaving empty-handed.
The judges’ scorecards were unanimous in selecting Burns as the winner and Coatbridge swelled with pride once again.