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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 February 2006, 23:33 GMT
Arthur in bruising title defence
Alex Arthur (right) lands a right to Ricky Burns
Alex Arthur (right) lands a right to Ricky Burns
British, European and Commonwealth super featherweight champion Alex Arthur saw off a brave challenge from Ricky Burns in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Arthur, 27, was awarded a unanimous decision after stamping his authority on the contest with a series of strength-sapping body blows.

Burns, 22, began brightly, moving well and landing several shots to the head of the champion in the early exchanges.

He did well to survive the 12 rounds, but was well behind on points.

Previously unbeaten, Burns was the lighter of the two at 9st 2lb 10oz, while Edinburgh's Arthur was dead on the 9st 4lb limit.

Ricky's a brilliant boxer with a great future and he could be a world champion one day
Alex Arthur
But the younger man from Coatbridge refused to be intimidated, showing good handspeed to land a series of left hooks, as the aggressive Arthur came forward.

The contest began to heat up in round four as Burns confidently took the fight to the champion.

Arthur came right back in the next round, getting inside the Burns' defence with some powerful combinations and he gradually began to exert his dominance.

As Burns began to tire, Arthur launched a flurry of bruising body punches, forcing the challenger to dig deep to survive.

The champion stepped up the pressure in the following rounds, but Burns refused to lie down and fought hard to get back into the contest.

Another onslaught in the penultimate round ensured that Arthur was comfortably ahead on points, eventually given the verdict by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 118-110.

Alex is as tough as old boots but I proved to myself I can go 12 rounds
Ricky Burns
Aterwards the champion was unstinting in his praise for the courageous Burns.

"Ricky Burns was in superb shape and he was up for the fight," said Arthur.

"He's a brilliant boxer with a great future and he could be a world champion one day.

"He never really hurt me with his shots because he is not a big puncher, but he is a brilliant boxer.

"Although I was hurting him with some body shots he kept coming back. I thought I had him from the fifth round onwards, although he was always coming back for more and I really needed to be fit to win it."

Defeated Burns refused to be too disappointed after running the champion so close.

"I don't count that as a loss," he said. "I'm just 22 and it was great experience for me.

"I respect Alex Arthur. I think he will go on to be a world champion. I thought I had the ability to beat him and I thought I had him in the first six rounds, but he caught me in the middle rounds with some powerful body shots.

"Alex is as tough as old boots but I proved to myself I can go 12 rounds and not only can I take a punch, I can hit as well."

Arthur, whose one reverse came against Manchester's Michael Gomez in 2003, is hoping victory will lead to a world title fight.

He wants the fight to be staged at the home of his favourite football club, Hibernian, later in the year.




SEE ALSO
Arthur backed to go all the way
14 Feb 06 |  Boxing
Arthur out to stop callow Burns
14 Dec 05 |  Boxing


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