Photo:  Getty Images –

By:  Ronnie Esplin, Press Association –

Ricky Burns retained his WBO lightweight title after Jose Gonzalez stayed on his stool at the end of the ninth round in a dramatic night at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

The 29-year-old mandatory challenger from Puerto Rico went into the fight unbeaten in 22 fights with 17 of them won inside the distance but an injury – with the suggestion it was a broken wrist – scuppered his chances of an upset.

Burns survived a seventh round in which he took some punishment and although he came back after that he was behind on points when the fight came to an early finish.

Winner:  Burns came away victorious after a pulsating battle in Glasgow

The 30-year-old, making his third title defence, started cautiously, using his left jab to get his range.

Encouraged by the raucous crowd, the Coatbridge champion commanded the centre of the ring, pressing his opponent back albeit some wild swings missed the target.

Burns looked the more powerful, snapping his left-hand out to make sure Gonzalez kept on the back foot.

The third round witnessed more and better exchanges between the two fighters with a trickle of blood appearing on Burns’ nose.

The crowd got excited when their favorite had the challenger on the ropes but it was all too fleeting to do too much damage.

The chanting started again as the crowd urged Burns forward, not that he needed much persuasion.

He took a right-hand flush on the face in the fourth round but came back with a couple of powerful body shots.

Some fierce blows were traded but Burns still looked in control, emerging from clinches with little damage done.

Gonzalez appeared game but his lack of experience made him vulnerable at times.

Against that, he indicated with some good powerful punches, some that Burns had to take, why his knockout record was so impressive.

The Scot got caught with a stinging left hand at the start of the sixth round which brought him charging towards Gonzalez in some anger, but still he could not quite pin him down.

The Puerto Rican was changing attack hand at regular intervals and he wobbled Burns with a right hand in the a remarkably brutal seventh round from which the champion was lucky to escape.

Burns came out at the start of the next round determined to get back on top, as the slightly nervous crowd bayed for their man to regain control.

It looked like the champion’s head had cleared but he flew into Gonzalez swinging wildly at times.

The challenger was on the back foot for most of the ninth round, looking like he may have lost his chance to create an upset.

But there was unforeseen drama when Gonzalez failed to come out for the 10th round, which sparked scenes of celebration in the Burns camp.


(Photo credit: PR Best Boxing Promotions/Joel Colon) By Scott Gilfoid: WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns (35-2, 10 KO’s) will be making his third defense of his World Boxing Organization 135 pound title this Saturday night against the big punching Jose A Gonzalez (22-0, 17 KO’s) at the Emirates Arena, in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.

The 30-year-old Burns will be getting his first taste of power since his clinch-filled 12 round decision over Michael Katsidis two years ago in London.

Since then, Burns has had two easy fights against light hitters Kevin Mitchell and Paulus Moses. Gonzalez, 29, is a much bigger puncher than Katsidis or Burns’ biggest hitting opponent to date Roman Martinez, and he’s got huge, huge power in either hand.

Gonzalez, from Puerto Rico, can punch right through guards, so if Burns is going to employ the rope and dope strategy that he used in his fight against Katsidis then I’m afraid he’s going to take a tremendous amount of punishment because you really can’t block Gonzalez’s shots because the power that he has.

The only way to try and survive against Gonzalez is to duck, dodge and run from him because if he hits you anywhere on your body you’re going to be in serious trouble.

Gonzalez is definitely the biggest puncher in the lightweight division by far and that includes WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner.

I expect that Burns will use his old arm bar and clinch techniques to keep from getting nailed by Gonzalez, but I don’t think it’s going to work.

I’ve seen some of Gonzalez’s fights where his opponents tried to hold down one of his arms the way that Burns likes to do and he kept nailing them with HUGE right hands.

Gonzalez is able to generate tremendous power even in close, so grabbing and holding one of his arms isn’t going to save Burns from punishment.

Likewise, using excellent clinches to try and tie Gonzalez up won’t work as well because he works during clinches. He doesn’t just give up passively and let his opponents survive or get rest breaks from his punishment.

Gonzalez is coming into this fight with a four-fight knockout streak that dates back to 2011. He’s stopped Alejandro Rodriguez, Oscar Cuero, Joseph Laryea and Hevinson Herrera in impressive fashion.

Burns is going to have problems taking his shots because he tends to like to slug with his opponents, but with Gonzalez you can’t do that because he hits so incredibly hard. He’ll literally punch a giant hole through Burns if he tries to slug with him.

Ricky Burns

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO- World Boxing Organization (WBO), by president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel, announced today the referee and judges who will work this Saturday, May 11, in the lightweight world title fight between the champion Ricky Burns and the #1 ranked Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez to be held at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, in a Matchroom Boxing presentation.

For the bout where Scottish Burns (35-2, 10 KOs) will defend for the third time his 135 pounds WBO title against Gonzalez (22-0, 17 KOs), from Puerto Rico, the referee will be Russell Mora, from United States.

Meanwhile, the judges for the Burns-Gonzalez fight will be Lisa Giampa, Julie Lederman and Glenn Feldman, all three from United States.

The WBO supervisor for this fight will be Markus Aslani, from Germany.