Ricky Burns set for January ring return

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WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns will return to the ring in January after it was confirmed yesterday that he has failed to secure another replacement for his scheduled defence on Saturday.

Late stand-in Jose Ocampo withdrew this week and Burns will now not fight at the Excel London this weekend.

Original challenger Liam Walsh pulled out following a car crash while promoter Frank Warren’s official website revealed Filipino Ocampo had withdrawn because of “contractual issues with TV”.

Burns had been hoping his next fight after Saturday would be a unification bout against WBC champion Adrien Broner and Warren is keen to get the Scot back in the ring soon to keep that dream alive. Warren said: “It’s a very disappointing time and I feel for Ricky, who has put in a lot of hard work to prepare, first for Walsh and then Ocampo, and now he won’t be on the show this Saturday but will return in late January.”

Burns’ manager Alex Morrison added: “Obviously Ricky was disappointed but he took it on the chin and he’s taken a philosophical approach to it now. He knows that these things happen and it’s unfortunate, but he knows that he’ll be out in the new year. Ricky will take a week’s rest and then he’ll start back in training again.”

The show will now be headlined by Commonwealth super-middleweight champion George Groves, who takes on Jamaican challenger Glen Johnson.

Also, Billy Joe Saunders takes on Nick Blackwell for the Commonwealth and British middleweight belts and Steve O’Meara and Liam Smith fight for the vacant Commonwealth light-middleweight title.

Meanwhile, Kell Brook may have to wait longer for his world title tilt next year after sustaining an ankle injury in training. Brook set up a 19 January clash with IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander. Now promoter Eddie Hearn hopes to persuade Alexander’s Golden Boy Promotions team to push the bout back by a few weeks.