Boxing: Eddie Hearn rejects Burns Night fight

Ricky Burns: Controversial draw. Picture: Robert Perry
Ricky Burns: Controversial draw. Picture: Robert Perry
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BOXING promoter Eddie Hearn says he will not be bullied into bowing to the wishes of American rivals by agreeing to Ricky Burns defending his world lightweight title in the United States without the champion being richly recompensed for relinquishing home advantage.

Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum has jumped the gun by announcing that Burns will make a defence of his WBO crown against Terrence Crawford, the 26-year-old undefeated mandatory challenger from Nebraska, at Madison Square Garden on 25 January.

But Hearn dismissed the prospect of a Burns Night showdown after pointing out that the 30-year-old Coatbridge boxer will not be fit to fight until the middle of February after suffering a broken jaw against Mexican Ray Beltran last month.

Hearn said: “Crawford is with Top Rank, the same as Beltran, and we have already written to Arum to say that we accept that Beltran probably won and we think he should be given a rematch as it’s the right thing to do, morally as much as anything. But Crawford will be on to Top Rank saying that he is next in line and as they probably have more interest in him than they do Beltran, they’ll try to force the situation.

“But, for me, commercially Beltran is a bigger fight and more relevant and we are liaising with the broadcaster HBO in an effort to try to make a rematch.

“I was interested to learn that Bob Arum announced that Burns will fight Crawford on January 25 which was very nice of him. He did make us an offer which we have rejected, and, because of the purse bid split, we would be favourites to get that fight for Scotland anyway.

“Sometimes you get an offer you really can’t turn down. But it’s my job to ensure that if Ricky fights in America the money is life-changing and the offer we got is nowhere near that.”