The Ricky Burns vs Relikh winner proved to be the champion in the end, in what turned out to be enjoyable night of world championship boxing from Glasgow, Scotland.
The co-main event of the evening at the SSE Hydro Arena featured a British heavyweight title bout between the always explosive Dillian Whyte and fellow big hitting Brixton rival Ian Lewison.
The former sparring partners eased into the contest in round one, with Lewison surprising some with some sharp punches early on. Whyte landed a decent body shot on the heavier Lewison at one point.
Whyte displayed good boxing skills in round 2, sticking and moving behind the jab and landing more solid body punches on Lewison.
The third round followed a similar pattern as Whyte’s game plan looked to be to take Lewison into later rounds.
Lewison showed flashes of being dangerous again however in the fourth, but the pick of the punches landed was a left hook from Whyte in a fairly uneventful three minutes.
Whyte had warmed into the fight by the fifth and his superior fitness was evident by this point.
‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte started planting his feet in round 6 – wielding hooks and digging in some spiteful uppercuts.
Whyte continued to land more in the 7th in terms of the crisper and cleaner shots.
A clearly fatiguing Lewison tried to dig in deep in the 8th round to his credit, but Whyte looked to be the man in control.
Both fighters displayed solid chins in round 9 as they traded hooks at one point. Lewison in particular showed his toughness after shipping a significant number of clean body punches.
Dillian Whyte broke the nose of Ian Lewison in round 10 who was taking a lot of punishment, who’s eyes began closing up.
Lewison’s corner pull him out at the end of the round in conjunction with the referee, giving Whyte the TKO win and British heavyweight title – improving his record to 19-1 (15KO).
The main event of the evening was for the WBA super-welterweight title between Ricky Burns and Manchester-based (trained by Ricky Hatton) Russian Kiryl Relikh.
Coming into the bout we had profiled how recent years had proved a renaissance for Ricky Burns and true to character and form, he continued the momentum like the champion he is – but not after a tricky start.
Relikh started fast in round one, catching Burns by surprise with some nice right hands and a hell of a lot of pressure to take the opening round.
The Russian continued his impressive start in the second – landing fast combinations and some decent left hooks.
The champion Burns came back a bit in the third though, beginning to stand his ground, plant his feet and push back the challenger.
The Scotsman had another strong round in the 4th, landing a very sharp right hand just before the bell.
The fight really started to come to life in round 5 as both men traded with one another in patches. A tough, close round to score.
The 6th followed a similar pattern in what was developing into an excellent fight.
Although Relikh was displaying a spirited work rate, Ricky Burns was landing the cleaner, more solid punches in the 7th. The straight right hand proving a useful weapon in particular.
Burns boxed well on the back foot in the 8th round and used his experience well to take the round.
The champion really came into his own in round 9. Burns, ever a master of the fundamentals and basics of boxing, picked his simple but highly effective punches and combinations very well.
A resurgent Relikh however dug in during the tenth, still displaying energy and plenty left in the tank and towards the end of the round hurt Burns for the first time in the fight. Definitely a round for the challenger.
Relikh had another huge round in the 11th in what was a fantastic round to watch – with both fighters standing toe to toe towards the end.
The final round was another excellent one as both men traded leather down the stretch in what turned out to be a very, very close fight and certainly one I found difficult to score in truth.
The judges scored the fight however by a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns, who successfully defended his world title and improved his record to 41-5-1 (14KO).
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