Ricky Burns: Big step up for Kiryl Relikh ahead of world title fight

Ricky Burns (left) expects home fans to create a hostile atmosphere during his fight with Kiryl Relikh (right)
Image: Ricky Burns (left) expects home fans to create a hostile atmosphere during his fight with Kiryl Relikh (right)

Ricky Burns doubts whether his weekend opponent Kiryl Relikh will cope with the hostile atmosphere home fans will create at their world title fight.

The Scot takes on the mandatory challenger at Glasgow's SSE Hydro on Saturday as he looks to overcome a hurdle which will open up greater options to him if he is successful.

With a passionate crowd backing him at the same venue where he became a three-weight world champion in May against Michele Di Rocco, 33-year-old Burns is confident of another win.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Johnny Nelson and Adam Smith preview Ricky Burns' world title defence against Kiryl Relikh

The WBA World super-lightweight champion said: "It's going to be interesting to see how he copes and adapts to the atmosphere. I don't know what sort of person he is.

"Obviously this is a big step up for him - [the] first time he's headlined an arena show live on Sky Sports - and he's walking into the lion's den in Glasgow.

Ricky Burns celebrates beating Michele Di Rocco in the WBA Super-Lightweight world title bout at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow.
Image: Burns became Scotland's first three-weight world champion when he defeated Michele Di Rocco in Glasgow in May

"Hopefully the fans will make it hostile for him and I don't think it will sink in the level he's at until there's just me, him and the ref in the ring.

"I have watched a few rounds of Relikh as we knew he was a possibility. He's got a lot of KOs on his record so he can obviously punch a bit, but it's the level of opposition that he's been knocking out.

Also See:

"He can dig a bit but we're not treating this any differently to any other fight I've had. I've had a good long camp for this one so there's no fears for me."

Watch NOW TV

Watch NOW TV

Watch Sky Sports for just £6.99. No contract.

Belarussian Relikh has won each of his 21 fights so far and all bar two by knockout, so Burns has respect for his record.

He added: "We're expecting a tough fight. Conor Benn trained alongside him before and did a bit of sparring with him and he said that he can punch, but we're confident of getting the job done. 

"There were some big fights offered to me. They fell through for this one but now we've got the mandatory to get out of the way.

Kiryl Relikh: Hopes to become a world champion next month
Image: Relikh hopes to become world champion by continung his perfect record from 21 previous fights

"That's not to disrespect to Relikh - he's got our full attention - but there's some massive fights out there.

"I boxed Di Rocco for the vacant belt so I've had to do this mandatory straight away which is fair enough - he's earned his shot the right way, so we get this win and it leads to massive fights.

"You have to take notice of the record he brings. They might not be top names that he's been facing, but he's been knocking them out regardless."

You can watch England's tour of Bangladesh, plus Premier League football and the Japan Grand Prix on Sky Sports. Upgrade now and enjoy three months at half price!

Around Sky