Three-weight world champion Ricky Burns returned to the ring for the first time in more than two years, as he boxed his way to a ten-round unanimous points decision over Emiliano Dominguez, of Argentina, in Houghton-le-Spring, County Durham in a very scrappy fight.
It was hardly vintage Burns, although after so long away it is difficult to be too harsh. But Burns, 38, struggled with his timing against an opponent who came forward throughout. Still Burns was the busier and set the pace and dominated with his familiar straight-punching style.
In the main the action was messy, not helped by Dominguez’s regular fouling, as he picked up warning for using his head, low blows and punching behind the head before referee Kenny Pringle took a point off in the ninth round. But Burns struggled to get the Argentinian’s respect and Burns fell in a lot and the pair mauled up close.
Burns’s best moments came in the ninth round as he landed a decent uppercut, as he showed he did not lack for fitness.
The decision was wide, Phil Edwards having it 98-92, Ron Kearney 100-91 and Terry O’Connor 99-91.
Lewis Ritson got back to winning ways as Christian Uruzquieta, of Mexico, retired on his stool at the end of the ninth round of a super-lightweight ten-rounder.
Ritson took a couple of rounds to warm up, but once he found his rhythm, he dominated, using his jab well and not letting Uruzquieta close to him.
Uruzquieta kept trying and came forward throughout, but the longer it went, the more Ritson began to open up, rocking him with a left hook in the eighth round and then dropping him with a body shot, followed by a left and right hook in the ninth. It sparked one massive final effort by Uruzquieta, but he was pulled out at the end of the round.
Thomas Patrick Ward is now unbeaten in 32 fights (one technical draw) and he recorded a wide ten-round unanimous decision over Leonardo Padilla, of Venezuela.
It was a typical, almost punch perfect performance by Ward, the WBO’s No 2-ranked super-bantamweight, although he seldom threatened to stop Padilla. He best moment came in the third round, when he rocked Padilla with a chopping right. Things got tasty in the eighth round, when Padilla complained that he was hit around the back of the head and Ward took advantage to punch him while defenceless, while Ward also claimed that Padilla bit him.
Two judges had it 100-90 and one had it 98-92.
Welterweight Joe Laws stepped up to middleweight to get six rounds of work from late substitute Seamus Devlin, who stayed out of trouble before taking his 17th straight defeat via a 60-55 decision.
Middleweight prospect Mark Dickinson moved to 2-0 with a six-round decision over Slovakia’s Michal Gazdik. Referee Ron Kearney scored it 60-54.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.
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