By Tim Nielson: #7 WBA Ricky Burns (40-5-1, 14 KOs) showed that he still has a lot of gas left in his tank tonight in defeating #1 WBA Michele Di Rocco (40-2-1, 18 KOs) by an impressive eighth round stoppage to claim the vacant World Boxing Association 140lb title in front of a packed house at the SSE Hydro, in Glasgow, Scotland.
Burns landed a blistering four-punch combination at close range in the 8th round that sent a weary Di Rocco down on the canvas. Di Rocco, 34, showed hear in getting back to his feet, but referee Terry O’Connor chose to stop the fight after seeing how hurt Di Rocco looked. Burns also knocked Di Rocco down in the 3rd.
The win for the 33-year-old Burns was his third division world title, putting him in rare company as far as British fighters go.
Burns fought well in making Di Rocco miss with his shots frequently, and tying him up on the inside to keep him from getting his punches off. When there was separation between the two, Burns was able to land his jab and looping right hands. Burns found his best success when fighting Di Rocco in close near the ropes. We saw that in the last minute of the third round with Burns backing Di Rocco up against the ropes and landing a fast combination that put him down. There appeared to be some bumping and pushing going on by Burns that caused Di Rocco to go down. The referee O’Connor still counted it as a knockdown, however.
There wasn’t much action in the 4th round. Both fighters were missing with their shots and there was a great deal of holding by both.
At the start of the 5th, Di Rocco changed his fighting style by electing to box and move away from Burns rather than pursuing him like he’d done in the first four rounds. Di Rocco was on his way to winning the round when he got caught by a hard right hand by Burns that hurt him. Burns did the same thing in the 6th round in winning a close round with a big right hand in the final seconds of action.
Both fighters spent the entire 7th round doing little more than holding and not much else. Burns still landed the better shots in the round.
Other boxing action on tonight’s card in Glasgow:
Tyrone Nurse TKO 9 Willie Limond
Conor Benn UD 4 Luke Keleher
Anthony Ogogo TKO 3 Chris Herrmann