WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns has split with promoter Frank Warren to join Matchroom Sport’s expanding stable.
Matchroom’s managing director, Eddie Hearn, confirmed Burns’ defection at a lunchtime press conference in central London yesterday.
The 29-year-old Scot follows super-middleweight George Groves, who made the same switch only last week, in joining Hearn’s impressive and growing list of British fighters.
Yesterday’s announcement, in the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, was made despite claims from Warren in some weekend newspapers that Burns was still contracted to him.
Warren said that Burns was committed to his postponed unification contest against IBF champion Miguel Vazquez at Wembley Arena on 20 April, but Hearn told the press conference: “Ricky Burns terminated his contract with Frank Warren last week.”
The fight against Vazquez was due to be a part of a Warren promotion at the same venue this Saturday but was delayed after Vazquez revealed he was suffering with a stomach ailment.
Burns has not fought since he retained his WBO title with a fourth-round stoppage of Kevin Mitchell last September.
Hearn said at yesterday’s press conference that Burns would make his debut under the Matchroom banner on 11 May against an as-yet unnamed opponent in Scotland.
He added that Burns’ letter of termination was sent to Warren last week. Hearn’s comments yesterday are at odds with quotes attributed to Warren in a Sunday newspaper, where he claimed he still had a deal with Burns. “I have a contract with Ricky,” he said. “Vazquez is contracted to box Ricky Burns. And he has confirmed he will fight on that date.”
Burns said he was looking forward to returning to the ring and denied any ill-will towards Warren. “I’m excited about what the future might bring,” he said. “Especially trying to bring the big fights back to Scotland again.
“I’ve got no problems with Frank. Frank has done a great job with my career up until now. We decided the best thing for my career was to try and get out of the contract, which we’ve done, and find a new promoter. I start full training again tomorrow.”
Hearn revealed he harboured hopes of bringing the WBC champion, Adrien Broner, to Scotland in the future, but names for Burns’ 11 May defence were still up in the air.