New Opponent Named for Ricky Burns

By Mark Whalley

Ricky Burns’ first fight for his new Matchroom paymasters will be a defence of his WBO lightweight title against unbeaten Puerto Rican Jose Gonzalez.

The fight will take place in the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, on May 11.

Burns left Frank Warren’s stable for Matchroom earlier this month, citing disillusionment with Warren’s ability to make big fights happen.

It seems likely that a messy legal battle will ensue.

Last week on SKY’s “Ringside” program, Burns revealed that his next fight would be a “50/50” contest, and in Gonzalez, Burns certainly appears to have his work cut out for him.

Gonzalez, known as “Chelo” (“blonde”), has won all 22 of his professional fights, with a formidable knockout percentage of 77%. He is ranked by #1 by the World Boxing Organisation, thereby making him the mandatory challenger for Burns’ title.

Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn stated that he was given last night to agree terms with Gonzales’ camp or the fight would be determined by purse bids. In an announcement on Matchroom’s website, Hearn revealed that a deal had been agreed by all parties.

Burns has dazzled in Glasgow before: it was the scene of his first world title triumph, when he overcame a first-round knockdown to outpoint heavily-fancied Roman Martinez to win the WBO super-featherweight title.

Fittingly, Gonzalez is a stable-mate of Martinez. There is sure to be a sense of retribution in the air for his camp come May 11.

For Burns, this will be a welcome return to the ring following six months of frustration.

And, who knows, perhaps the final hurdle to overcome before a showdown with Adrien Broner?