By Trevor McIntyre: Ricky Burns and Lee Selby could be facing each other in two months on September 7 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, according to Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn. Also, there’s plans for WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith to return to the ring on September 21 to defend his title in his hometown of Liverpool.
Former three division world champion Burns (43-7-1, 16 KOs) vs. Selby (27-2, 9 KOs) will likely take place at lightweight. Selby, 32, has outgrown the featherweight division after losing his International Boxing Federation 126 pound title to Josh Warrington in a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision loss last year in May 2018. Selby was a good finesse fighter at 126, but at 130 and 135, he needs more power.
Selby and Burns a good scrap
Selby moved up two divisions and beat Omar Douglas by a tougher than expected 12 round unanimous decision last February at the O2 Arena in London. That was a poor performance by Selby, who won the fight by the scores 116-112, 116-112 and 115-114. Boxing News 24 had the fight scored a draw. If Selby’s efforts against Douglas (19-3, 13 KOs) are any indication of how he’s going to be performing at 11
Burns, 36, has looked good recently in winning his last two fights against Scott Cardle and Ivan Njegac. Before that, Burns lost to Anthony Crolla and Julius Indongo by a pair of 12 round decision defeats. The Crolla fight was a lot closer than the scores handed in by the judges, but Burns lost the fight nonetheless. At this point in Burns’ career, he’s not a big enough puncher to be a major player at 135 or 140.
The talent level in those two divisions is well and above what Burns is capable of competing against. Although Burns has the size at 5’10” to be a major player, his punching power is insufficient for him to hang with the talented guys like Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Callum Smith back in action on September 21 in Liverpool
Promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t saying who the 29-year-old Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) will be fighting next. He was hoping that Saul Canelo Alvarez would choose to move up to 168 to take on Smith, but he’s decided instead to defend his IBF 160 pound title. WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders made an offer to fight Smith, but there was no interest. It’s possible that Hearn will match Callum against #1 WBA John Ryder (28-4, 16 KOs) for the September 21 date.
Ryder, 31, has looked good lately in winning his last four fights since losing to Rocky Fielding by a 12 round split decision in 2017. In his Ryder’s last four fights, he’s beaten Bilal Akkawy, Andrey Sirotkin, Jamie Cox and Patrick Nielsen. Ryder looks like he’s improving still, and he could be more than a handful for Smith.
If not Ryder, then one of these fighters would be ideal for Callum to fight on September 21:
- Fedor Chudinov
- Peter Quillin
- Chris Eubank Jr.
- Vincent Feigenbutz
- David Lemieux
- Aidos Yerbossynuly
- Zac Dunn
- Vladimir Shishkin
- Rocky Fielding
- Erik Bazinyan