Ricky Burns hits out at bottle-throwing youths

RICKY BURNS believes his boxing career would have been jeopardised had he confronted bottle-throwing youths who targeted him while out training.

The WBO interim lightweight champion was left stunned by the incident which happened on Monday, January 2, when he was running in Coatbridge.

Burns was jogging along Main Street when he was pursued by a gang of neds who began throwing bottles in his direction.

The 28-year-old escaped unharmed and, after returning home, reported the incident to local police.

Burns has decided to speak about what happened in order to raise awareness of anti-social behaviour so the streets can be made safer for everyone.

And he revealed his career would have been on the line had he challenged the troublemaking group.

“They were all having a drink beside Home Bargains when I was running past,” Burns told the Advertiser. “There was maybe around 15 of them.

“I didn’t think much of it at that time. I run through every area of Coatbridge and normally people toot their car horns or wish me all the best.

“I didn’t even look round. I just heard smashing behind me and obviously they were chucking stuff.

“I then turned around and saw a couple of them running up the road after me.

“I just kept running as what would have happened had I stopped and got into a fight? I could have damaged my hands and may have had to pull out of my next fight.

“Or what if I hurt one of them? I could lose my boxing licence. Any sort of violence outside the ring could jeopardise my career.

“It’s not worth it and, with things like that, I have to walk away – or run away in this case.

“I made a complaint to the police and I’m happy that they were investigating it all.”

Fans and friends offered their support to Burns after he revealed the incident on his Facebook page.

“There was over 200 comments on my page when I posted about it and they all thought it was a disgrace,” he added.

“But everyone felt I did the right thing by getting away from them. It’s not worth ruining my career because a group of young guys think this sort of thing is funny when they’re out drinking.”

Burns doesn’t want to see others intimidated by drunken gangs.

However, the champion boxer says he has no plans to leave the area or change his training regime.

He added: “What if this was someone else, maybe someone who wasn’t able to run away? That’s why I am concerned.

“It could have been a lot worse had it been someone else in that area at that time.

“I’m still out doing the same routes as I’ve always done. Nothing has changed.”


by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge