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Ricky Burns plays down greatest Scottish boxer tag

Ricky Burns relaxes during training
Burns is remaining relaxed about Saturday's fight and his own place in history

Ricky Burns has played down suggestions that he will soon become renowned as Scotland's greatest boxer.

The WBO super-featherweight champion defends his title against Joseph Laryea at Braehead Arena on Saturday.

"I just get embarrassed by it all," said the Scot. "I am getting used to the media attention - that doesn't bother me anymore.

"But, when people are talking you up, I just feel myself cringing a bit sometimes. It puts pressure on you."

If the 27-year-old Coatbridge fighter comes out on top, he has been promised a unification fight against South Africa's IBF belt holder, Mzonke Fana, some time in the summer.

According to Burns' trainer, Billy Nelson, victory in that fight would mean Burns will have proved himself better than Scottish ring legends like Benny Lynch, Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt.

Whether I win by points or knockout, it doesn't really bother me. But there is no way that I am losing that title

Ricky Burns

Scotland's current world champion, though, is uncomfortable with being mentioned among such boxing greats.

"Other people have told me what Billy has said, but I am always the last person to praise me," said Burns, speaking at Nelson's Fighting Scots gym on the outskirts of Glasgow.

"I don't see it as a big deal. I see myself as a normal guy. I treat boxing like my job.

"Everyone knows what I am like. I like to keep myself to myself and do my talking in the ring."

Meanwhile, Burns' manager Alex Morrison has distanced himself from Nelson's comments and told the trainer to let his fighter do his talking in the ring.

"Ricky will be happy that he is being compared to former champions like Jim Watt, Ken Buchanan and Scott Harrison but will be very unhappy that anyone working closely with him has said he is, or even close to becoming, Scotland's best ever-boxer," said Morrison.

"He does not need pressure like this put upon him. My ambition for Ricky is that he leaves the ring like Jim Watt did, with his health, money, popularity and looks intact.

"Billy Nelson has done a terrific job with Ricky and has improved him to different levels. But he should remember that is where his role ends and let Ricky do his talking in the ring."

Burns added: "Whether I win by points or knockout, it doesn't really bother me. But there is no way that I am losing that title.

"I don't like all the hype. I want to get in the ring and do my talking. All the work is done. I have been ready for the last couple of weeks.

"I am taking nothing for granted. I know that I am in for a hard fight but hopefully I can get in there and do the business."

Stephen Simmons, who won bronze at the2010 Commonwealth Games, makes his professional debut at cruiserweight on the same bill, against Londoner Nick Okoth.

see also
DeGale on Burns world title bill
08 Mar 11 |  Boxing
Burns fight unrealistic for Walsh
01 Mar 11 |  Boxing
Ricky looks to Rocky for inspiration
24 Feb 11 |  Scotland
Burns shrugs off Laryea warning
24 Jan 11 |  Boxing

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