Burns Victim

By Steve Bateson on June 27, 2014
Ricky Burns' world title ambitions seem to have gone up in smoke after another defeat

Ricky Burns’ hopes of a quick return to the world title scene are all but over as he dropped a split decision to Dejan Zlaticanin at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow.

The hometown fighter,Burns (36-4-1 with 11 KO’s) was dropped heavily by a swinging left hook from the unbeaten Montenegrin after just twenty five seconds of the first round and he never truly recovered from that shot. For much of the fight he retreated whenever Zlaticanin (19-0 with 13 KO’s) began to unload, giving the impression he was being bullied, and was wide open for dangerous hooks far too frequently.

Burns, last seen losing his WBO Lightweight title to Terence Crawford in March, has a horrible tendency of straightening up and leaving his chin hanging as he pulls out of exchanges and tonight was yet another example of his very lacklustre defence. Zlaticanin was a relevantly unknown quantity and Burns took him lightly, a decision that has backfired drastically in the Coatbridge fighter’s face.

Although Burns was able to bring his jab into play later in the fight and mix up his combinations it was too little too late to change the tide and swing the judge’s decision. This was supposed to be his opportunity at jumping the WBC rankings and earning a shot at kingpin Omar Figueroa but now Burns will be contemplating his future in the sport; can he be satisfied with competing for domestic honours after his illustrious career?

Ricky Burns is a gentlemen and a quality fighter but ever since he had his jaw broken by Raymundo Beltran it seems as though he is fighting with a lot of worry and trepidation, something that unfortunately boxers cannot allow. Unless Burns can tighten up his defence and get back to his boxing fundamentals it is hard to see exactly where he goes from here.

Take nothing away from Dejan Zlaticanin, he did his job and performed superbly, but if Burns cannot beat this level of opponent then the beltholders at 135lbs; Crawford, Abril, Figueroa and Vasquez are all way beyond his level. A rude awakening for Burns and his camp, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Scorecards: 115-113 x2 for Zlaticanin; 113-115 for Burns

Undercard:

Stephen Simmons retained his WBC International Cruiserweight title with a ten round stoppage over fierce-rival Wadi Camacho in a bruising affair.

The needle between both fighters had begun on social media and threatened to boil over early when they clashed at the weigh-in; but all the punches were thankfully saved for when both men stepped in between the ropes.

Simmons, clearly aggravated by Camacho’s behaviour in the build-up, came out swinging for the fences but his work was crude and easy to read, giving Camacho the opportunity to keep the distance and dominate off his efficient jab for the first few rounds.

The Scottish fighter was looking for one big shot and although he found some success in the middle rounds he was still being picked off by the “Macho Man” in the most part, it looked as though the fight was pulling away from the defending champion. Simmons was breathing heavily and a few well-timed left hooks to the body from Camacho seemed to be taking their toll.

But Camacho was beginning to tire and his legs began to betray him, leaving him in the firing line to sustain a series of right and left hooks, and Simmons was able to work his way back into contention. The ninth round was the turning point, a huge left hand from Simmons was followed by a stiff right hook and only the bell saved Camacho from hitting the deck.

The corner only had a minute to work and it wasn’t enough for Camacho’s team as he walked onto a left hand straight from the bell. He staggered to the ropes and although he tried to hold on he was caught by another left hook and a barrage of blows that finally brought him to his knees. The referee, Richie Davis, allowed Camacho to continue after he beat the count but the result was inevitable from there. Simmons quickly trapped Camacho in the corner and landed more punches as the official moved in to call a halt to proceedings.

Simmons (now 10-0 with 5 KO’s) should now be looking to work his way into domestic contention whilst Wadi Camacho (12-3 with 8 KO’s) should go back to the drawing board and perhaps work on his endurance. He controlled the early part of the fight but was running on empty by the time the ninth round had begun.

Willie Limond dropped the brave Curtis Woodhouse twice on the way to a majority points victory in a very entertaining bout for the Commonwealth and British Light-Welterweight Championships.

Commonwealth champion, Limond (38-4 with 10 KO’s) had faster hands from the outset and despite Woodhouse (22-7 with 13 KO’s) being the bigger puncher it was Limond who had the British champion retreating after a right hand that landed behind the ear.

The second and third rounds followed a similar pattern as Limond landed the cleaner punches but Woodhouse demonstrated his heart by matching his opponent punch for punch and looking to target the body of his Scottish opponent. In the fourth round Limond was able to land a right hook to the temple and then, as Woodhouse was ducking in retreat, a left uppercut had the former footballer sprawled on the canvass.

Woodhouse gritted his teeth and beat the count before mounting a spirited comeback throughout the middle rounds. Although Limond had the superior skills it was the workrate of Woodhouse that caught the attention of the judges as he went after Limond’s body with a relentless approach, it was turning into a real domestic dustup.

Limond, whose only losses have come to Amir Khan, Erik Morales, Anthony Crolla and Alex Arthur was still orchestrating the clearer work and knew he possessed enough power to discourage Woodhouse but the Sheffield fighter has never been accused of lacking spirit and he followed Limond around the ring, intent on finishing the fight on his own terms.

But the non-stop action was clearly taking its toll on Woodhouse and another uppercut in the eleventh round had him on the floor again, his championship was slipping through his fingers and there was nothing he could do about it. Once again he got back to his feet but Willie Limond was in no mood to engage anymore, he was sure he had done enough.

Woodhouse battled hard in the last round but Limond weathered the late storm to hold on for a very hard-fought and deserved victory. The scorecards read: 116-111, 117-109 to Limond and an inexplicable 113-113.

An enthralling contest and credit must go to both fighters for a fight to remember. Curtis Woodhouse, who changed his mind on retirement for this fight, will now hang up his gloves and should be respected for all he has achieved. Willie Limond, although in the twilight of his career, should be targeting a shot at European honours if his promoters can make it happen.

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