Saturday night at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, former featherweight and lightweight champion Ricky Burns (40-5-1, 14 KOs), TKO’d EBU (European) super lightweight champion Michele Di Rocco (40-2-1, 18 KOs) at 1:57 of round eight to win the vacant WBA World super lightweight title.
With 8,000 Glaswegians cheering him on, Burns also made history as the first Scottish fighter to win world titles in three different divisions.
“The game-plan we set out was to keep it long with jabs and straight rights,” said Burns after the fight. “I couldn’t miss him with it. We didn’t have to get in the second phase of the game-plan. I’m going on holiday next week but I’ll be chasing my team because there are some big fights out there for me now.”
It was a cat-and-mouse affair and Ricky Burns was the cat. His jab was perfect. His game plan was precise. The Italian came forward, inexorably, looking for that elusive something just out of reach. Burns delivered straight rights, combinations, and energy-sapping shots to the body. The Scot was economical, but he was precise.
At the end of round three Burns connected with a straight right that dropped Di Rocco to the canvas. He got to his feet. The bell rang.
Burns rattled Di Rocco two rounds later with another punch to the face.
A right hand ended it in the eighth. Di Rocco got unsteadily to his feet at the count of eight, but the stoppage was timely.
“When the fight was stopped I could feel myself welling up,” said Burns after the fight. “My team knew what this meant to me. After everything that’s happened, Eddie Hearn showed faith in me and delivered this big fight.
“I’m going on holiday next week but I’ll be constantly checking my phone while I’m away because there are some big fights out there for me now and I can’t wait for them.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.