ricky burns at the hydro

Ricky Burns at the Hydro Will Look To Join A Very Special Group in Boxing History

Published On May 24, 2016 | By Johnny Greaves | Boxing News, Boxing Views and Opinion

On May 28 in Glasgow, a certain Ricky Burns will be looking to make history as Scotland’s first ever ‘Triple Champion’.

I’ve known Ricky for quite a few years, and I remember when he won his first world title in Scotland back in 2010 because I boxed on the same show against Stephen Ormond.

I’ll be at the same show this weekend with my young prospect George Hennon, up against local lad Sam Ball.

This’ll be Ricky’s first fight back in Scotland in nearly two years, aiming to become a three-weight world champion, having previously reigned as WBO king at super-featherweight and lightweight.

He’s got a tough fight against Italian Michele Di Rocco for the vacant WBA World super-lightweight title.

If successful, ‘Rickster’ could add his name into the history books alongside many of the greats such as Duran, Leonard and Hearns, to name just a few.

(Ricky speaking on Sky Sports recently about trying to make history):

For me, a ‘Triple Champion’ is a boxer who has won ‘recognised’ world titles in three different weight classes. Those titles will be any of the four major governing bodies – WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO.

It is universally considered a remarkable and rare achievement, accomplished by only a handful of top fighters.

The legendary Bob Fitzsimmons was boxing’s first triple-crown champion, successively winning the middleweight, heavyweight, then light-heavyweight titles between 1894 and 1903.

Another legend of the game – Henry Armstrong was the first man to hold three titles in three divisions, simultaneously.

In Scotland’s largest city on the last weekend in May, the world could see another name added to that esteemed list, potentially becoming the 40th in the sport’s history.

He will also be only the third from Britain to achieve the honour, here’s a little look at the other two:

Bob Fitzsimmons – Middleweight, Light-heavyweight, Heavyweight

This famed Brit boxer was the first in history to achieve the amazing feat, even more remarkable back then as there was only the one title per weight to be won.

The youngest of 12 children born in Cornwall in 1863, Robert James Fitzsimmons emigrated to New Zealand with his family, aged nine.

There, he won boxing tournaments and had many of his first professional fights in Australia, before heading to America in 1891 to knock out a certain Jack Dempsey in the 13th round to win the World middleweight title.

In 1897, he added the World heavyweight belt by knocking out American Jim Corbett in the 14th round with his infamous ‘Solar Plexus Punch’.

It was in November 1903 that history was made when he defeated the World light-heavyweight champion George Gardiner on points over 20 rounds to forever have his name inscribed into the record books.

Duke McKenzie – IBF Flyweight, WBO Bantamweight, WBO Super-bantamweight.

We would have to wait almost 90 years for another Brit to join the prestigious list of triple champs.

From Croydon came ‘The Duke’, winning the British belt at two weights, the European crown once and world championships at three different weights.

It was in October 1988 when McKenzie first tasted world title glory with an 11th round knockout of Rolando Bohol to collect the IBF World flyweight strap.

Two years later, he grabbed the second world crown with a points win over Gaby Canizales to relieve the Texan of his WBO World bantamweight belt.

It was in 1992, when ‘The Duke’ conquered another Texan in Jesse Benavides on points over 12 rounds for the WBO super-bantamweight title, thus entering the record books alongside fellow Brit boxer – Fitzsimmons.

The number of British boxers in the list has been stuck at two for almost a quarter of a century so I think it’s about time we added another.

Best of luck to Ricky, I’ll be sat ringside backing him all the way! Here is the full list of all the major triple world champions in history:

  • (1) Bob Fitzsimmons (UK/NZ); Belts: 160, HVY & 175 (1903-11-25)
  • (2) Tony Canzoneri (USA);  Belts: 126, 135 & 140 (1931-04-24)
  • (3) Barney Ross (USA);Belts: 135, 140 & 147 (1934-05-28)
  • (4) Henry Armstrong (USA); Belts: 126, 135 & 147 (1938-05-31)
  • (5) Emile Griffith (VI); Belts: 154, 147 & 160 (1966-4-25)
  • (6) Wilfred Benítez (PR); Belts: 140, 147 & 154 (1981-05-23)
  • (7) Alexis Argüello (NIC); Belts: 126, 130 & 135 (1981-06-20)
  • (8) Roberto Durán (PAN); Belts: 135, 147, 154 (1983-06-16) & 160
  • (9) Wilfredo Gómez (PR); Belts: 122, 126 & 130 (1985-05-19)
  • (10) Sugar Ray Leonard (USA); Belts: 147, 154, 160 (1987-04-06), 168 & 175
  • (11) Thomas Hearns (USA); Belts: 147, 154, 175 (1987-10-29), 160, & 168
  • (12) Jeff Fenech (AUS); Belts: 118, 122 & 126 (1988-03-07)
  • (13) Héctor Camacho (PR); Belts: 130, 135 & 140 (1989-03-06)
  • (14) Julio César Chávez (MEX); Belts: 130, 135 & 140 (1989-05-13)
  • (15) Iran Barkley (USA); Belts: 160, 168 & 175 (1992-03-20)
  • (16) Duke McKenzie (UK); Belts: 112, 118 & 122 (1992-10-15)
  • (17) Pernell Whitaker (USA); Belts: 135, 140, 147 (1993-03-06) & 154
  • (18) Mike McCallum (JAM); Belts: 154, 160 & 175 (1994-07-23)
  • (19) Wilfredo Vázquez (PR); Belts: 118, 122 & 126 (1996-05-18)
  • (20) Oscar De La Hoya (USA); Belts: 130, 135, 140 (1996-06-07), 147, 154 & 160
  • (21) Roy Jones Jr. (USA); Belts: 160, 168, 175 (1996-11-22) & Hvy
  • (22) Leo Gamez (VEN); Belts: 105, 108, 112 (1999-03-13) & 115
  • (23) Félix Trinidad (PR); Belts: 147, 154 & 160 (2001-05-13)
  • (24) Johnny Tapia (USA); Belts: 115, 118 & 126 (2002-04-27)
  • (25) James Toney (USA); Belts: 160, 168 & 200 (2003-04-26)
  • (26) Shane Mosley (USA); Belts: 135, 147 & 154 (2003-09-13)
  • (27) Manny Pacquiao (PHI); Belts: 112, 122, 126 (2003-11-15), 130, 135, 140, 147 & 154
  • (28) Érik Morales (MEX); Belts: 122, 126 & 130 (2004-02-28)
  • (29) Marco Antonio Barrera (MEX); Belts: 122, 126 & 130 (2004-11-27)
  • (30) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (USA); Belts: 130, 135, 140 (2005-06-25), 147 & 154
  • (31) Juan Manuel Márquez (MEX); Belts: 126, 130 & 135 (2008-09-13)
  • (32) Jorge Arce (MEX); Belts: 108, 112 & 115 (2008-09-15)
  • (33) Fernando Montiel (MEX); Belts: 112, 115 & 118 (2009-04-25)
  • (34) Miguel Ángel Cotto (PR); Belts: 140, 147 & 154 (2010-06-05)
  • (35) Koki Kameda (JPN); Belts: 108, 112 & 118 (2010-12-26)
  • (36) Nonito Donaire (PHI); Belts: 112, 115 & 118 (2011-02-19)
  • (37) Robert Guerrero (USA); Belts: 126, 130 & 135 (2011-04-09)
  • (38) Abner Mares (MEX); Belts: 118, 122 & 126 (2013-05-04)
  • (39) Roman Gonzalez (NIC); Belts: 105, 108 & 112 (2014-09-05)

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About The Author

Johnny is an ABA semi-finalist with 50 unlicensed and 100 professional fights under his belt. Now a boxing Manager, the East-Ender has been involved in the sweet science for no less than three decades.

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