Boxing: Ricky Burns faces Miguel Vazquez in unification bout

Ricky Burns: Broner pledge. Picture: PA
Ricky Burns: Broner pledge. Picture: PA
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SCOTLAND’S Ricky Burns and Miguel Vazquez of Mexico will put their world lightweight titles on the line when they meet in a unification fight at Wembley Arena on 16 March.

The bout will form part of a night of action called ‘Rule Britannia’, which will also include a light-heavyweight world title fight between champion Nathan Cleverly of Wales and Robin Krasniqi of Kosovo.

Burns hopes to take care of Vazquez then silence the critics who claim he is avoiding a fight with unbeaten WBA champion Adrien Broner by beating the outspoken American. Broner accused Burns of ducking a fight with him at super featherweight when the Scot moved up a weight category in 2011. The American then offered to fight Burns at two days’ notice last month when two of the 29-year-old’s opponents pulled out of a lightweight bout at the ExCeL Arena in London, but he again turned down the opportunity.

Burns, from Coatbridge, insists he is not avoiding Broner and has promised boxing fans the much-anticipated fight will go ahead if he beats Vazquez in two months’ time.

“For all the doubters out there who say I am avoiding him – I can assure you that the fight is going to happen,” Burns said. “Broner wants a fight, and it’s one I have always wanted so it is going to happen.”

Burns has scored victories against Kevin Mitchell, Paulus Moses and Michael Katsidis since moving up to lightweight. He had the chance to round off the year with another win, but Liam Walsh and Jose Ocampo had to pull out of December’s clash in London.

The episode frustrated Burns, who had spent 11 weeks training for the bout, and he is looking forward to returning to the ring for what he predicts will be a tough fight against the Mexican, who has lost just three times in a 36-fight career.

“This is going to be a very tough fight,” said Burns. He is one of the best in the division, a good technical boxer, very elusive.

“I don’t see a stoppage in this. I will train and treat it as a 12-round war but if it is a boxing match then so be it.”

Burns will now head off to Norway to train with Andreas Evensen in temperatures some 16 degrees Celsius below freezing. He will then return to Britain before taking on Vazquez at Wembley.