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Page last updated at 22:29 GMT, Saturday, 4 September 2010 23:29 UK

Ricky Burns takes world title from Roman Martinez

Ricky Burns (right) is the new WBO super-featherweight champion
Burns (right) turned in the fight of his life in a thrilling bout

Scotland's Ricky Burns won the WBO super-featherweight title with a unanimous decision over Roman Martinez at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall.

Burns rallied superbly from being floored in the first round to largely dominate his previously undefeated foe.

Burns, 27, was awarded victory by three rounds by two of the judges and two rounds by the third.

On the undercard, Stephen Smith won the Commonwealth featherweight belt with a split decision over John Simpson.

The victory maintains 24-year-old Liverpool fighter Smith's unbeaten record.

Burns though made a dubious start, being knocked to the canvas in the first round by a firm right hand from Martinez, the Puerto Rican's first real punch in anger.

Thousands of fans in Kelvin Hall made for a partisan pro-Burns crowd for what resulted in a truly memorable main bout.

606: DEBATE
Ballchinian

Burns' response was superb though and he took the fight to Martinez, playing the hard-hitting champion at his own game and landing a string of powerful shots throughout a gripping 12 rounds.

Martinez, who won the title from Essex fighter Nicky Cook in Manchester inside four rounds last March, had twice defended his title convincingly and won 15 of his 25 previous fights within the distance.

The clear favourite must have thought he was on his way to another simple success when his right hand had Burns down for a mandatory eight count towards the end of the first round, although Burns seemed to have been pushed off balance more than badly shaken.

Burns landed some powerful shots in the following round but Martinez was able to duck out of harm's way and had Burns on the ropes in the closing seconds. An uppercut rocked the champion in the following round but he recovered and a powerful right jab had Burns falling back on the ropes in the final seconds.

The fourth round continued in the same manner with both boxers landing powerful punches, although the champion's mobility appeared to be an advantage.

I showed heart of a champion - Burns

But Burns took the fifth round convincingly, two brilliant right hooks putting Martinez under serious pressure at either end, the Coatbridge boxer producing an impressive sequence of punches after the first and the bell then coming to Martinez's rescue.

Commonwealth champion Burns dominated the next three rounds although Martinez never looked completely out of the contest. The ninth round was a scrappier affair but Burns finished it in trouble after finding himself on the ropes and struggling to get back on the front foot.

The Scot recovered well in an even 10th round and gained the upper hand in the penultimate round despite being caught by a left hook in the final seconds.

Martinez came out with all guns blazing in the final round but Burns, roared on by an electric crowd, found the most damaging punch of the round and remained in control despite the champion catching him with a low blow, which was punished by the referee.

"Throughout the fight he did catch us a few times," Burns told Sky Sports. "But, as I said before, I do have a good chin and I took them well. I had to grit my teeth every round there and I'm just overwhelmed.

"I couldn't ask for a better camp behind me, the build up to this fight all I could think about was winning this world title, and now it's here I don't know what to say."

The fight had everything - Warren

In the chief support, Simpson was taking part in his 12th title fight and his experience looked to have told in the middle stages but the 27-year-old tired visibly towards the end of the 12 rounds.

After 116-114 verdicts either way, judge Ian John Lewis awarded the 24-year-old the contest by four rounds to hand him the belt and a guaranteed shot at Martin Lindsay's British title.

The opening two rounds appeared to go either way but Smith's right eye was cut in the third after an apparent clash of heads and Simpson landed two accurate jabs that made their mark in the following round.

Smith was using his jab to good effect but he was caught by sporadic right hooks, although he hurt Simpson in the final stages of the sixth round with a body shot.

An ill-tempered fight remained tight in every sense and more bad feeling was apparent when Simpson retaliated after being caught by his opponent after the bell had signalled the end of the seventh round.

The fight opened up slightly in the ninth and Simpson recovered from an early blow to land several decent shots.

But Smith, whose older brother Paul is British super-middleweight champion, looked more in control in the closing stages, adding several powerful strikes to his consistent jabs to take the belt.



see also
Incomparable drama on Burns night
05 Sep 10 |  Boxing
Burns tipped to outshine Harrison
29 Jul 10 |  Boxing
Burns buoyed by fear of Martinez
21 Jul 10 |  Boxing
Biggest fight of career - Burns
24 Jun 10 |  Scotland
Burns secures bout with Martinez
24 Jun 10 |  Boxing


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