On Friday, October 7, at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, WBA World super lightweight champion Ricky Burns (40-5-1, 14 KOs), from Coatbridge, Scotland, United Kingdom, will make the first defense of his title against WBA #1 ranked Kiryl Relikh (21-0, 19 KOs), the undefeated knockout artist from Minsk, Belarus.
“Relikh is a very tough fight as a first defense,” said Burns. “He’s got a high KO ratio so he will be very dangerous throughout. Trust me he has my undivided attention and I will have to be at my best to get through this.
“There are some massive fights out there in the future against some huge names in the 140-pound division but we’re taking it one step at a time and that starts on October 7 at the Hydro.”
Burns is the former Commonwealth (British Empire) and WBO super featherweight champion who won the vacant WBA title in his last fight against Michele Di Rocco, at the same venue in Glasgow, stopping the rugged Italian in the eighth round of a scheduled 12.
Relikh turned pro in 2011. He won the vacant WBA Inter-Continental super lightweight title in 2015 via a second round TKO and has fought in Belarus, Bulgaria, Monaco, and England. This is his first fight in Scotland.
That does not concern Relikh.
“I’m glad to be here and look forward to the day of the fight,” said Relikh at Wednesday’s presser in Glasgow. “I am ready to fight for the belt and I have the right age to win. I know I’m an unknown boxer and that the public will support Ricky, but no matter. I’m ready to win the title.”
Relikh fights under the banner of Hatton Promotions, whose proprietor knows a thing or two about boxing.
“Kiryl is one of those cool, unflinching boxers,” said Ricky Hatton. “Nothing fazes him. This is a big opportunity for him and he’s not bothered about being the underdog.
“Kiryl’s been training and boxing away from home for years so he’ll have no problem going to Scotland for the fight. I think having the crowd against him will bring the best out of him.”
Hatton’s optimism is justified. Relikh is unbeaten. He has a 90 percent KO ratio. He is 26 and in his prime.
“The sky is the limit for Kiryl. He’s got raw punching power than makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Ricky Burns is a top-class fighter. You don’t win three world titles by being anything less than world class, but there always has to be a changing of the guard and I think this could be Kiryl’s time.”
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.