Ricky Burns will face Jose Ocampo in his latest world title defence after the Filipino was drafted in as replacement for the injured Liam Walsh.
The Scot had been due to defend his WBO lightweight belt against Walsh next month but the Norfolk-based fighter hurt his back in a road accident.
Ocampo, rated 14 in the world by the WBO, will now face Burns at London’s ExCeL on 15 December. The 23-year-old challenger has suffered five defeats, but most of them came in his teenage years, and 12 of his 17 victories have come inside the distance.
Should Burns win, he has been lined up for a unification fight against unbeaten American Adrien Broner, who added to his reputation by securing the WBC lightweight title this month.
Burns, who swept aside Kevin Mitchell in four rounds in September, said in a statement: “I’d say that this is going to be the hardest fight of my career so far against a young, hungry challenger who will be looking to take my title.
“Filipino fighters are as tough as they come, just look at [Manny] Pacquiao and Nonito Donnaire, like the Mexicans and Africans they come to have a fight and Ocampo will do just that. If he fights like those two, as people say he does, then I’ll be in for a tough night.
“It’s unfortunate that Walsh had an accident and had to pull out of our fight but I’m a world champion and I have to deal with these changes and I’m confident I’ll deal with Ocampo.”
Promoter Frank Warren added: “It’s going to be hard for Ricky, he’s been training to face Walsh and in an ideal world he would have had more time to prepare for the different style that Ocampo will bring. He can’t afford to slip up, though, we are virtually there with the fight against Broner for next year and that will only happen if he comes through against Ocampo.”