Tonight at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, Ricky Burns (39-5-1, 13 KOs) and Michele Di Rocco (40-1-1, 18 KOs) will square off over a scheduled 12 rounds for the vacant WBA World super lightweight title.
Burns, from Coatbridge, Scotland, is a 15-year pro who won the WBO World super featherweight title by beating Roman Martinez via unanimous decision in September 2010 and the WBO World lightweight title by beating Paulus Moses via unanimous decision in March 2012. Should he emerge victorious tonight, Burns will be the first Scot to win world titles in three weight divisions. Although never stopped, Burns has lost three of his last six, most recently to Omar Figueroa Jr., who won by unanimous decision last May. Seventh-ranked by the WBA, Burns last fought this past November, knocking out Josh King in the 11th, thus scoring the vacant WBO International lightweight title.
Hailing from Foligno, Unbria, Italy, Di Rocco is a 12-year ring vet who won the vacant EBU (European) super lightweight title in June 2013 by beating Lenny Daws via unanimous decision. First-ranked by the WBA, “The King” has successfully defended his title four times, most recently last May when he knocked out Alexandre Lepelley in the eighth. The Italian has only suffered one defeat, stopped by Giuseppe Lauri via seventh-round TKO in September 2007, a loss he avenged in April 2012 by stopping Lauri via first-round TKO.
“I don’t know if Ricky Burns will be the toughest opponent of my career as I still have to fight him,” said Di Rocco, “but usually the toughest fight is the preparation. The fight is the easiest part.”
Fighting in enemy territory is something new for Di Rocco. He has only fought twice outside Italy.
“I have fought in Spain and Finland with all the crowd against me but I always try to have that energy in my favor.”
Burns thinks that energy will be his for the taking.
“I’ve been boxing away from home a lot and not really been in Glasgow much so it’s great to be back,” he said. “It’s always a great night here and Di Rocco isn’t going to know what’s hit him when he walks out Saturday night.”
Burns continued, “I am grateful for this chance. I couldn’t ask for a bigger fight, especially coming back to Glasgow after two years. I have to approach this like any other fight though. I know it’s a big one but I just have to focus on willing and nothing else.”
Di Rocco is ready come what may.
“Respect is the first thing in boxing. Talk is zero. The talking is done in the ring. Ricky Burns has been champion and I’ve never been one. Saturday night, I want to be the new WBA world champion.”
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.