Ricky Burns insists he will not let hopes of fulfilling his American dream deter him from his fourth defence of his world title against Raymundo Beltran.
It was confirmed yesterday that the WBO lightweight champion will face the highly-rated Mexican at the SECC in Glasgow on 7 September.
The Scot’s last outing in his home city last month saw him survive a scare against Jose Gonzalez as the Puerto Rican rattled the Coatbridge fighter before inexplicably retiring ahead of the tenth round.
The 30-year-old’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, says the test posed by Beltran – who has won 28 of his 34 fights, including 17 stoppages – could be just what is needed to finally persuade US broadcasters that Burns is box-office material.
He said: “This is a real credible fight that a lot of people will take notice of in America. They have seen a lot of Beltran and they like what they see. Check him out on YouTube, he’s great to watch. He’s a come-forward fighter, very tough, very aggressive. He likes to stand and trade and is coming off the back of three great wins. He beat Hank Lundy who is a big prospect in America. He also beat Ji-Hoon Kim, who is a former world champion.
“If I can, I always want to keep Ricky in Scotland. The atmosphere is fantastic. Short-term, he will be here for the next two fights. But, when you see the interest from people like HBO for Ricky to fight at Madison Square Gardens, that is something at some point in your career you want to achieve. At some point in the future, he will go fight in America.”
Burns has long stated that his dream is to one day fight in either New York or Las Vegas for the coveted Ring Magazine title but he insists Hearn’s long-term plans are not for him to consider just yet. “That’s the sort of thing that you want to hear your promoter saying – talking about big fights and going to America,” said Burns. “But I’ve always said one fight at a time. I know I’ve got a tough fight here and, if I don’t come through on 7 September, then these fights aren’t going to happen. So right now, Beltran has my full attention. I treat all my opponents with the respect they deserve. We know this will be a hard fight and I need to go out and win it first.
“Once I do that, we can look ahead at what’s to come. But until my arm is raised, all the talks on that are on hold.”
Burns returned from an eight-month absence to battle past Gonzalez, with Hearn putting his sluggish display down to ring rustiness.
But the fighter himself insists he will not be making an excuses this time. He said: “It’s going to be a very hard fight. He’s a tough fighter and is ranked in the top ten in most of the world rankings.”