Burns puts training first

  • Last Updated: February 25 2014, 8:18 GMT

Ricky Burns admits he has been forced to neglect his fatherly duties while he focuses on defending his WBO lightweight crown against Terence Crawford.

Ricky Burns: Training has come first
Ricky Burns: Training has come first

The Coatbridge fighter faces his American opponent in Glasgow on Saturday night but while he has been busy preparing, wife Amanda has been left to care for their five-month-old son Leon.

But Burns, 30, knows he will have to deal with his fair share of dirty nappies and 3am feeds once the fight is over.

He said: "Leon is great fun, he's been teething but his first tooth came through when I was down in England sparring recently.

"It was a great boost to me to come back and see him again - even after just one week away - but I feel sorry for Amanda as I am up and out in the morning to the gym and running, then home for food and sleep.

"It's the same in the afternoon and evening, but she has him all to herself, especially when I am away.

"So after the fight I know she'll be saying, 'It's your time now'."

Burns has struggled in his last two fights, leading some pundits to question whether he can still cut it as a world champion.

The Scot was unconvincing despite stopping Puerto Rican Jose Gonzalez last May, while he claimed a controversial draw against Raymundo Beltran last time out in September.

He suffered a broken jaw in the second round before being knocked to the canvass six rounds later but still managed to cling on to claim a split-decision which left most observers stunned.

But Burns says hiring a series of top-class sparring partners has rejuvenated him ahead of the Crawford clash.

He travelled down to Essex recently to mix it with former opponent Kevin Mitchell and unbeaten lightweight talent Martin J Ward, while he also welcomed Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell and British, European and Commonwealth super featherweight champion Lee Selby to Glasgow as part of his preparations for facing unbeaten Omaha fighter Crawford.

"Sparring with Kevin was brilliant," said Burns. "We did a good 30-plus rounds with him and Martin, who is a really talented boy. Luke was up in Scotland and was brilliant, he's a huge talent, and Lee came up for the last week and he's stylish and slick.

"I really think we have replicated what he will bring. I felt as if for the last couple of fights we were doing too much sparring and circuits work, and although I was in great shape, it was getting a bit repetitive for 12 weeks before a fight.

"My good mate Matthew Smillie has come in as my strength and conditioner. We've known each other a long time so that's helped and we're really mixing it up so it never feels boring or stale. The 6am starts for the hill sprints haven't been great fun as I'm not a morning person, but I soon got into the routine and I've really loved this camp and I think it's going to benefit me on fight night.

"Crawford is a very slick boxer, he switch hits and he's very good both orthodox and southpaw, we tried to get Jose Gonzales over for sparring who I boxed before as he would have been ideal but sadly we couldn't get that to work, but we know what we're expecting and we've had plenty of variety in sparring."


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