Crowd won’t deter Burns challenger Gonzalez

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JOSE Gonzalez, the Puerto Rican who stands between Ricky Burns and a successful third defence of his WBO lightweight crown, confessed yesterday that he would far rather be facing the 30-year-old Coatbridge boxer on neutral territory.

The 29-year-old mandatory challenger will bring a perfect record to the ring at the Emirates Arena on Saturday night, including 17 stoppages in 22 bouts.

But Gonzalez admitted: “I didn’t want to come here. Not only am I fighting the champion, I am fighting him in his own home and that’s always difficult.

“I would have preferred to fight somewhere neutral – or in Puerto Rico, even! But I am the best challenger and he is the champion and we have to fight somewhere although to win the title here, I will have to do it by a knock-out.”

Gonzalez is assured of a hot reception in his first bout outside his homeland, but insists that he won’t be fazed.

“I have heard all about the famous Glasgow crowd and I know they can be very hostile, very fiery,” he added. “But when the bell goes, there will only be two people in the ring.”