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Fear factor key for Ricky Burns against Roman Martinez

John Simpson, Frank Warren and Ricky Burns
John Simpson (l) and Burns have been sparring to prepare for their fights

By Keir Murray

Ricky Burns is relying on fear to inspire him to become the first Scot since Scott Harrison, in 2002, to win a world title on home soil.

The Coatbridge super-featherweight will fight WBO champion Roman Martinez in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall on 4 September.

"Roman is giving me that fear factor and that is going to give me the edge in this fight," said Burns ahead of his title bout with the Puerto Rican.

"When I know I am up against it, that's when I am at my best."

Martinez, for his part, with a record of 24 wins in 25 fights and one draw, is unfazed at the prospect of fighting in Scotland.

"I have seen Ricky's videos and I have seen that he is a great fighter," said the 27-year-old, who is a few months older than his Lanarkshire challenger.

"But there is no problem in going over there. I have been doing the work in the gym and I am ready to come back with the title.

"It has been a great training camp so far and I think I will win by a knockout. I plan to place my punches well, to wear him down with body shots."

I admit that I am stepping up in class, but the better the opponents I have been in against, the better I have boxed

WBO title challenger Ricky Burns

But Burns, who has endured months of contractual wrangling between promoter Frank Warren and the champion's camp, is equally confident of winning.

He intends to emulate Harrison's feat of winning the WBO featherweight title when he defeated Julio Pablo Chacon in Glasgow eight years ago.

"I am aiming to be the next Scottish world champion since Scott Harrison. It is going to be a good, hard fight," said Burns, whose record stands at 28 wins and two defeats in his 30 professional bouts.

"I have been studying Roman's last few fights and people are going to see fireworks in this one.

"He is a good boxer, he is a big puncher, but I have proved I can take a shot and I can also dish it out as well.

"I admit that I am stepping up in class, but the better the opponents I have been in against, the better I have boxed. I am going to be giving it 110%."

The bout at the Kelvin Hall will revive memories of Jim Watt's fight against Alfredo Pitalua at the venue 31 years ago.

Watt stopped Pitalua in the 12th round in 1979 to win the world lightweight title in front of a noisy home support.

WBO super-featherweight champion Roman Martinez
Unbeaten Martinez will defend his WBO title in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall

Burns was not born when Watt was serenading his raucous fans with a rendition of Flower of Scotland, but nevertheless hopes the atmosphere will help him.

"I have always got a great crowd in Scotland that comes out to support me," he said.

"I am really looking forward to walking out into that ring. It's going to be awesome.

"I have been thinking about the added pressure, about fighting in front of my own fans, but that is just going to spur me on.

"The preparations have been excellent, with lots of hard sparring. The weight is spot-on. Over the next five weeks I'll train with guys at heavier weights."

One of Burns' key sparring partners is Commonwealth featherweight champion John Simpson, who will put his title on the line against Liverpool's Stephen Smith on the undercard.

"We have just done eight rounds of sparring," said Burns of his friend from Greenock.

"My trainer is always saying that we could charge people to watch our sparring sessions. The pace that we are doing in sparring is the pace I will take into this fight."

see also
Burns secures bout with Martinez
24 Jun 10 |  Boxing
Burns awaits title destiny
03 Jun 10 |  Boxing
O'Hara loses British title bout
29 May 10 |  Boxing
Burns overcomes O'Hara in Glasgow
20 Jun 09 |  Boxing

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