By Mark Whalley
The ongoing saga between rival British boxing stables Matchroom and Frank Warren Promotions has intensified with today’s announcement that Ricky Burns has completed his defection.
Matchroom confirmed their acquisition of the Scottish lightweight world champion at a press conference mere days after Burns terminated his deal with Warren.
Matchroom Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn had hoped that the announcement would be kept under wraps until the midday conference, but the news leaked late on Sunday evening.
Warren has been quoted in the Daily Mail as saying he will “sue for substantial damages”, and that he will retrospectively claim his share of management fees owed by Burns that he had previously foregone.
Hearn, on the other hand, has claimed that the situation mirrors a previous case where Liverpudlian light-heavyweight Tony Bellew successfully argued that he was a free agent, despite Warren’s insistence that he was still bound by a contract to represent him.
Whilst the signing seemed inevitable in the wake of last week’s shenanigans, few would have predicted it before then, and Matchroom would not have been Burns’ only viable option even after his departure.
Hearn had stated in the aftermath of Gavin Rees’ defeat by Adrien Broner – a long-standing rival of Burns – that the American was in a different league to the Scot.
Publically, at least, he will now be forced to re-evaluate his opinion.
Burns will now fight in Glasgow on May 11th, the scene of his last fight – a remorseless fourth round stoppage of former world champion Kevin Mitchell.
His opponent is yet to be named, but it seems very unlikely to be Miguel Vazquez, who he was originally scheduled to fight on Saturday.
It will certainly not be Adrien Broner, who has agreed a fight with Paulie Malignaggi – a contest that will see “The Problem” move up two weight classes to welterweight.
As for Matchroom, there will be another signing announced later this week to add to the recent acquisitions of Burns and George Groves.
Speculation is that it will be Olympic super-heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua.
Joshua has previously indicated that he wants to retain his amateur status to defend his title for Britain at Rio 2016.
However, a whole world of riches and fame await if he can replicate his success in the professional ranks, which may ultimately prove too much of a temptation.
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