by Jordy Neild
It’s not often you find a clash between two former world champions stashed away on an undercard. The clash between Ricky ‘Rickster’ Burns (43-7-1 16 KO) and Lee ‘Lightening’ Selby (27-2 9 KO) could have headlined a show of its own, but the beauty of Saturday evening is that a stellar main event is backed up by an intriguing undercard and this feels like a fight that could be a treat for the fans.
Ricky Burns has won world titles at super featherweight, lightweight and super-lightweight and is the only Scottish three-weight world champion in history. Undoubtedly, one of British boxing’s proudest stories, he is somewhat under appreciated by British fans.
Burns, 36, turned over as a professional in 2001 and has seen all that the sport has to offer while remaining, to his testament, as fresh and as relevant as he has ever been.
A win here on Saturday would keep the evergreen Scotsman firmly in the running for another world title shot which remains the motivation despite clocking up 51 fights over an 18-year career. The numbers are quite astonishing, but there has been nothing to suggest that Burns has lost any of his attributes that have made him such a fantastic fighter for all these years.
In the opposite corner, Lee ‘Lightening’ Selby is still finding his feet in the lightweight division. Once dubbed ‘The Welsh Mayweather’ a lot has been expected of Selby and although he won the IBF World Title at featherweight, there is still a general feeling that we are yet to see the best of the Welshman.
‘Lightening’ has spent majority of his career campaigning as a featherweight and really announced himself as a world class fighter when he beat Evgeny Gradovich at this very venue, in May 2015.
In the years that followed, Selby had four successful, but slightly underwhelming, defences before the dramatic weight cut finally caught up with him when he was dethroned by Josh Warrington in May 2018. It is quite astonishing given his size, that he managed to make the 126lb limit for so many years without damaging himself and the move to lightweight is sure to refresh Selby and at 32, it seems like there may be a few more chapters to the Selby story.
It is unknown what lies on the other side of this for the winner. The 135lb division is currently one of the most competitive in the whole sport, so although the winner keeps themselves on the path to a world title, another shot is far from guaranteed and the loser is almost certainly out of the picture.
During the build-up, there has been nothing but respect between the pair. Selby and Burns are both model professionals and neither has ever disappointed when it comes to displaying bravery and determination. It would take a brave person to try and split these two and in the ring and we can expect the pleasantries to stop as soon as the first bell goes. Two unassuming characters but come Saturday night they are both fighting for their future in the sport, don’t be surprised if this one catches fire.