Feb 23 2011 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Ricky Burns Civic Reception
RICKY BURNS says he could have filled the Excelsior Stadium with all the people he wanted to thank for helping him become world boxing champion.
The Coatbridge puncher was granted a civic reception at the stadium by North Lanarkshire Council after winning the super-featherweight title last September.
Burns upset the odds to stun Puerto Rico’s Roman Martinez who lost for the first time in his career.
In the aftermath of a thrilling night at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, the Advertiser wrote to the council and called for the 27-year-old to be honoured.
Our request was accepted and Burns, along with many of his family and friends, attended a special function in Airdrie on Friday evening.
Burns admitted he was proud to have his achievement recognised and paid tribute to all those who have backed him over the years.
He told the Advertiser: “I’m honoured that my achievements in the ring are being noticed.
“But everyone knows that I just treat boxing as my job. I’m not one for being in the spotlight.
“I have brought along a lot of close family and friends but there are so many people I want to be thanking.
“If it was up to me, I’d have all my fans here at this event, especially the ones who travel from Coatbridge and Airdrie to watch my fights.
“We could have hired the pitch and had them out there!
“Everyone knows that I’d rather be in the ring than standing up and saying a few words at an event like this.
“But that’s something I think I’ll just have to get used to.
“I’m so grateful, not just to the people who have turned up, but to the provost, the councillors and everyone who has turned out to support me.”
Burns is currently training for his second title defence against Ghana’s Joseph Laryea on March 12.
And that meant he couldn’t tuck into a three-course meal like everyone else.
He added: “When I got the call telling me this was being organised, I was asked if there were any dietary requirements.
“So I expect I’ll be eating some nice plain chicken and rice while everyone else will be having some steak.
“I’ll be a little bit jealous but don’t worry - I’ll make up for it after my fight.”
Provost Tom Curley said Burns was a worthy recipient of a civic reception and hailed him as an “inspiration”.
“I’m a boxing fan and what a credit Ricky Burns is to Coatbridge and Scotland,” he continued. “He’s a true world champion.
“When the Advertiser wrote to me, it was only right that Ricky was recognised and honoured in this way.
“His win was an amazing achievement and I think he is an inspiration to all of our young people.
“Ricky has worked so hard and him becoming world champion is something we’ll remember all of our days. It’s absolutely tremendous.”