WBO World Lightweight Champion Ricky Burns heads straight into another Battle of Britain when he defends his title against unbeaten challenger Liam Walsh on Saturday 15th December at London’s ExCeL. The fight headlines promoter Frank Warren’s end of year multi-title show that also features Commonwealth Super-Middleweight Champion George Groves against Glen Johnson and Billy Joe Saunders defending his Commonwealth Middleweight title against Nick Blackwell.
Scottish star Burns, 28, a two-time and two-weight world champion, is hot off a stunning performance against Kevin Mitchell last month when he destroyed his English rival inside four rounds and heads into another big Auld rivalry clash.
Walsh, 26, has stopped 10 of out 13 early and comes from a fighting family with brothers Ryan and Michael both unbeaten professionals.
Earlier this year Walsh won the WBO European Lightweight title in real style on the big David Haye-Dereck Chisora card at Upton Park after stepping up from super-featherweight where he held the Commonwealth title, making two defences.
His brutal and dramatic fight against Burns’ fellow countryman Paul Appleby in September last year was hailed as a small hall classic and named one of the fights of the year. Appleby cut Walsh in the second round and dropped him in the seventh. Walsh fought back and their were some action-packed exchanges in the eighth and ninth rounds before Appleby was dropped twice and then retired on his stool before the start of the tenth.
The winner of Burns and Walsh will also have the added bonus of then going into a unification fight against American star Adrien Broner who holds the WBC title.
Burns said, “Nothing stirs the sports fans like a good English-Scottish showdown just like my fight against Mitchell did and the fans are in for a real treat before Christmas with this one. Walsh is a good strong fighter, he’s unbeaten and this is his big chance to win the world title. I was ringside when he fought Appleby and he showed tremendous heart and strength to come through when he was deep in trouble. I’ll be in the best shape possible and will leave nothing to chance for this one. The big motivator is a showdown with Broner, who I was accused of avoiding last year. Since moving up to lightweight and winning the world title my stock and profile has increased and now that it’s a unification fight it’s a much bigger fight than before.”
Walsh said, “To fight for the world title is my dream and I’m going to cause a big upset on December 15 at the Excel when I take the crown from Burns. It’s always been on my mind that I would fight him one day and it’s now here. He’s a great champion, I’ve studied and watched him throughout his career and I know I’ve got the tools to beat him. He’s looked great in the last few years and he did a stunning job on Mitchell. He’s in the prime of his career now so when I beat him people will know that I’ve beaten the best. I’ll have massive support from my ‘Farmy Army’ fans who will be coming to the Excel creating an electric atmosphere.”
Warren added, “Burns, as I’ve said, is Britain’s most improved fighter and he did a real job on Mitchell last month. Even before Mitchell, he’d beaten two of the best in Roman Martinez and Michael Katsidis. Now he’s facing a young, tough and unbeaten challenger in Walsh who’s stepping up to the plate and really fancies the job. You’ve just got to watch his epic fight against Appleby that was named one of the best of the year to see that he loves to fight and he’s got plenty of heart for a battle. It’s a cracking fight to top the bill with at the Excel and one that the fans will enjoy along with Groves’ title defence against Johnson plus Saunders is in title action as well. For the winner of Burns and Walsh, the new golden boy of American boxing, Adrien Broner, will be waiting and he’ll put his WBC title on the line in a big unification showdown.”