Ricky Burns v Michele di Rocco: Scot trying to block out history talk

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland
Ricky Burns, Michele di Rocco
Ricky Burns faces Michele di Rocco for the vacant WBA super-lightweight title.

Ricky Burns insists he is trying not to think about making history in his world super-lightweight title fight against the Italian Michele di Rocco.

If the 33-year-old wins at Glasgow's Hydro Arena on Saturday night, he would become the first Scot to win world titles at three different weights.

Only two British boxers - Duke McKenzie and Bob Fitzsimmons - have achieved the feat before.

"I'm just trying to block all this out just now," said the Coatbridge fighter.

"I don't really bother about stuff like that. As long as I'm fighting, that's the main thing.

"When the fight was announced, I knew the size of it, especially because we'd been away from Glasgow for so long, and you're not going to get a bigger incentive than a third world title at a third weight.

"Whether it was this fight or my debut with four and six-rounders, whenever I'm training, I always give it everything.

"Although the last couple of years I've been on the road, boxing down south quite a bit, out in Texas as well, as long as I was fighting that was the main thing for me.

"Eddie [Hearn, his promoter] had always said that he wanted to come back to Glasgow, but it would have to be for the right fight. We've jumped at the chance, so here we are again."

Burns is a former WBO super-featherweight and lightweight champion, and faces Di Rocco for the vacant WBA super-lightweight title.

Terrence Crawford, Ricky Burns
Burns has not held a world title since losing the WBO world lightweight belt to Terence Crawford in March 2014

The Italian is unbeaten in seven years, and has held the European title for the last three years, but has fought abroad only once. With around 8,000 tickets sold for Saturday night, a partisan home crowd will be rooting for Burns.

"I don't know if he's going to be one of those fighters who caves in, I don't know how he's going to feel when he comes out and 8,000 fans are booing him," Burns said.

"We'll soon find out. But once that first bell goes, I tend to block it all out.

"He's only fought outside Italy once. My attitude to boxing is that a fight's a fight. We've trained for a hard 12 rounds and we know it's going to be tough.

"I've watched two or three of his fights and I know Tony [Sim, his trainer] has been doing a lot of watching as well. I'm 100% confident we're going to go out here and do a job."

'It's going to be a special night'

Hearn believes that the show, which includes Willie Limond challenging Tyrone Nurse for his British super-featherweight title, will showcase the best of Scottish boxing.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Charlie Flynn and Gorbals boxer Joe Ham are also on the undercard, and Hearn believes that they can benefit from Burns' efforts at world level.

"I feel a bit for Ricky, because every time he fights in Scotland he's got the weight of Scottish boxing on his shoulders," Hearn says.

"People like Charlie Flynn and Joe Ham are sitting there with their fingers crossed saying, 'Please Ricky, win'. If Ricky wins, we come back in October. You've got so many good young fighters coming through, but also the older generation in Ricky and Willie Limond.

"It's been nearly two years since we've been in Scotland promoting shows and we've missed it.

"Since I told [Burns] he was going to be boxing in Glasgow again, he hasn't stopped smiling. Even during those early morning hill sprints, he's been smiling. If he can get the job done, it's going to be a special night."