Ricky Burns v Anthony Crolla in October - no Josh Taylor bout

Former-three weight world champion Ricky Burns has avoided a potential all-Scottish showdown with compatriot Josh Taylor '“ at least for now.

Ricky Burns in an open training session at St Enoch Square, Glasgow. Picture: Robert Perry

Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn has announced that the Coatbridge fighter will box Anthony Crolla, another former world champion, at lightweight on Saturday 7 October at the Manchester Arena as they attempt to rebuild their careers 
following defeat.

Burns, 34, lost his WBA light-welterweight title to the classy Julius Indongo in April and returns to the 
division in which he secured his finest wins.

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Similarly, the 30-year-old Crolla lost his WBA lightweight title to Jorge Linares last September and then their rematch in March.

A further defeat for either fighter would likely take a return to world level beyond them, and at a time when there is optimism fellow British lightweight Luke Campbell can win the WBA title against Linares next month.

However, in wake of Edinburgh’s Josh Taylor’s seventh-round stoppage of Ohara Davies at Braehead last month, a victory that confirmed 26-year-old Taylor as the No 1 fighter in Britain in the rankings at 140lbs, it had been hoped a match-up between the Scottish duo could be made before the end of the year.

However, Burns said: “I’ve been making 140lbs too easily and I’ve had enough notice for this fight.

“Although those last pounds will always be tricky I’m happy to be back down at 135lbs.

“I’m always saying to Tony (Sims, his trainer) I’ve got two or three more years left. At this stage of my career I don’t see the point in getting an easy win. I’d rather go in with a big name.

“If I win, I’m going to progress and hopefully get another title shot.”

Meanwhile, Crolla said: “A win puts us back in the mix for titles. I’m not going to say the loser has nowhere to go, but it’s going to be a tough road back.

“We’re both coming off losing our world titles and the incentive is to win the fight and get back in the frame.

“I could have a tune up fight on the undercard of somewhere and an easier opponent to get me back into things and then a big fight after but I’m not interested in that.

“(A fight between us has) nearly happened before a good few times, a few years ago at super-featherweight and again at lightweight.

“It’s been talked about for years now.”

Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua’s trainer criticised his 
performance in the victory over Wladimir Klitschko on the fighter’s first morning back in the gym. Despite 
winning what was widely considered the finest world heavyweight title fight since the 1990s so conclusively that Klitschko has since retired, Rob McCracken sought to maintain Joshua’s focus.

The 27-year-old WBA and IBF champion became 
Britain’s latest darling with the 11th-round stoppage victory in front of a 90,000-strong crowd at Wembley, and has since largely experienced only praise.

He returned to the gym only four weeks after the April 29 date in an attempt to “tick over” until confirmation of his next fight, expected imminently against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev for either 
October 28 or November 11.

When he did so however, McCracken, also Team GB’s performance director, immediately told him he needed to improve.

“It was like I was a novice,” Joshua said. “We ticked the entertainment factor, but from a coaching point of view there was a lot of mistakes made, and a lot of things we could do better, and that’s what he looks at.

“He was straight up: ‘Yeah, great, whatever, but that was four weeks ago; we’ve got to start preparing for the next three years. Not only are there tougher fights in front of you, there’s other people gunning for you to beat you, so you’ve got to get serious’.

“You’ve got to get back on it now. Your left hook was bad’. I was still living off the 
adulation, thinking: ‘What? This guy’s taking the Mick’. But I’m over it now.

“That’s why I went with him when I turned pro, because I knew I needed a lot of experience, and he knew me for who I am in the gym.

“After the Olympics certain people would have thought: ‘This kid’s unbelievable’ but Rob was like: ‘No, you’re a 
novice, you’ve done well, but...’ – he’s always been really grounded.”