Dave Oakes previews Saturday's super-featherweight clash between Ricky Burns and Joseph Laryea.
Ricky Burns goes into the second defence of his WBO title knowing that a slip-up against the unheralded Joseph Laryea will scupper any chance of a prospective big fight. A bout with Mzonke Fana has been talked about and Burns needs to continue to impress here if he’s to secure a fight against the IBF champion.
Laryea upset one Scottish fighter in Paul Appleby to get the title shot and will be hoping to cause another shock this Saturday at the Braehead Arena, Glasgow. Laryea, 11-4 (11 KO’s), looks to be better than his record suggests. He’s tall, long limbed and has an awkward style which Burns will find hard to look good against.
Appleby couldn’t adapt to Laryea’s style, the Ghanaian repeatedly landed the jab and occasionally connected with one of his widely thrown but hard looking hooks. Whilst not being the silkiest of operators, Laryea looks tough and durable and has already experienced fighting in the raucous atmosphere of the Braehead Arena so shouldn’t be overawed by the task ahead.
Burns, 30-2 (7 KO’s), is in the form of his life, he produced a gutsy and disciplined performance in winning the title against Roman Martinez and was efficient if not spectacular in defending it last time out against Andreas Evensen.
The improvement Burns has shown over the past couple of years is remarkable, his career had become a touch stagnant following his loss to Carl Johanneson in early 2007 but he’s turned it around wonderfully. It shows that hard work and dedication can pay off if you learn from the knocks you’ve suffered.
This is a potential banana skin for Burns, he should be too good for Laryea but could be made to look bad by the gangly Ghanaian. Both fighters like to work behind the jab and it’s important that Burns establishes his early on. Burns may take a few rounds to suss out Laryea’s style but should gain control by the fourth. I expect him to retain his title via a wide-ish points decision.
James DeGale sharpens his tools on the undercard; he takes on Alpay Kobal over eight rounds. The Frenchman shouldn’t pose DeGale too many problems and I expect DeGale to stop him around the fourth.